For many years, the Pittsburgh duo Zombi has been making dank, atmospheric instrumental music that’s heavily indebted to the bugged-out horror-film scores of the ’70s and ’80s. Within that zone, Zombi have always found plenty of room for creative expression; their 2021 EP Liquid Crystal was full of different wrinkles on the group’s established sound. But on a new album, Zombi have gone off in a vastly different direction.
The new LP Zombi & Friends, Vol. 1 is all covers, and it’s Zombi taking on some of the smoothest soft-rock hits of the ’70s. On the LP, Zombi take on songs like Barry Gibb and Barbra Streisand’s “Guilty,” Neil Diamond’s “America,” the Doobie Brothers’ “Takin’ It To The Streets,” and the almight Alan Parsons Project Bulls-intro jam “Sirius/Eye In The Sky.” They also cover Eagles, Dionne Warwick, Lou Rawls, Eddie Rabbitt, and Double. There’s a damn Frank Stallone cover on here. Zombi have been putting out those covers in an online series, but now they’ve collected them on an album — the first in a series.
These are faithful covers, and they’re not instrumentals. Rather than adapting these sounds to fit their style, Zombi have tried to re-create the smoothness of the original tracks. They’ve brought in help from members of bands like Trans Am, the Sword, Zao, and Pink & Black. In a press release, Zombi’s Steve Moore explains:
Last year, we invited some of our close friends to take part in a series of soft and smooth cover songs we loved from our childhood. Over the course of the year, we recorded 25 songs, from roughly the mid-70’s through the mid-80’s and released a new one almost every Friday. It was a chance to stay busy and connected during the pandemic. Admittedly it started as a bit of a joke with our Barbra Streisand cover, which was originally going to be a one-off, but the reaction was so strong we decided to plan out a whole series.
Stream the results below.
Zombi & Friends, Vol. 1 is out now on Relapse, with physical copies coming 6/17.