ZOMBI – Spirit Animal (2009)

Zombi - Spirit Animal I recently purchased the deluxe DVD of Blade Runner, and while watching the film for perhaps the first time in three or four years or so, I found myself inexorably drawn to Vangelis’ score. You see, the score of Blade Runner is a common subject of debate amongst fans of the film; some people find it extraordinarily wondrous, while others listen to it and find it both dated and lifeless.

Either argument could be assigned to the music Zombi. On Spirit Animal, Zombi have taken the synth-glory of Vangelis, and have created a series of lengthy songs that would be right at home on the soundtrack to a 16-bit Squaresoft game. On previous albums, the band have melded their stubbornly retro electronics with spacey, psychedelic rock, but on Spirit Animal, they’ve opted to use krautrock instead, which I feel is a good choice – when you write songs this laborious, adding krautrock’s dedication to phrase repetition into the mix is a bold, go-for-broke gesture that paysn off more often than not. The songs Spirit Animal painstakingly drift from one echoic melody to another, and for some, the album will be a test of patience that they won’t be able to pass (hopefully, you know who you are). Personally, though, I find it hard to fault Zombi for their unyielding devotion to decades-old musical trends. They do an admirable job on Spirit Animal, and fans of Neu!, Circle, Can (and yes, Vangelis, too) will think it’s the 1970’s all over again. For everyone else, I’d suggest watching (or rewatching) Blade Runner instead. If you cringe the first time you see the Tyrell corporation, well, then you’ll know to stay away.

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