The British Invasion of 1964 spawned a vast array of forms and fashions, with the Kinks holding court as one of the most revolutionary bands of the brigade. Quaking with raw energy snarling with purpose, pumped by shredding guitars, shouting choruses, and whiplash-inducing breaks, “You Really Got Me” and “All Day And All Of The Night” — penned by frontman Ray Davies — stormed the charts that year, turning the Muswell Hill, North England group into stone cold superstars.
Having acquired such astounding accolades, the pressure was on for the band to promptly deliver a follow-up album to their self-titled debut disc, and the result was Kinda Kinks (Pye Records). Although the album doesn’t propose anything quite as overamplified, driving or direct as “You Really Got Me” or “All Day And All Of The Night,” there’s still a handful of genuine jewels to be admired.
The best known track on Kinda Kinks is “Tired Of Waiting For You,” which cracked the Top 10 early in 1965. Yearning vocals, pronounced by Ray’s nasally whine, pinned to a foundation of ringing chords, tugging harmonies, and shapely melodies gives the song a firm folk-rock flavor. A visible folk influence further dwells within “So Long” and “Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ About That Girl,” where “Naggin’ Woman” shuffles to a craggy blues gait, and “Got My Feet On The Ground” blends standard rock rhythms with a dash of twangy country riffs.
Radiating with sweetness and warmth, “Don’t Ever Change” and the glowing optimism of “Something Better Beginning” disclose a gentler side of the Kinks, as both tunes pack a pure and painstakingly pretty pop ambience.
Ray Davies has often commented Kinda Kinks his least favorite album, but don’t let that put you off. There’s no contest: it’s not the band’s greatest recording (as far as I’m concerned, that honor goes to Something Else, Village Green Preservation Society, or Misfits), yet it paints a pleasant picture of the Kinks moving forward.
In fact, progressing what was made the band so artistically viable while many of their peers either kept punching the rerun channel, leading to dated tactics, or simply dropped out of sight because they couldn’t adapt to the rapidly changing musical landscape. The Kinks were remarkably brilliant, and this album examines them revolving and evolving in a subtle but sure-footed manner.
All hail Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaif, and Mick Avory!