The Kinks – The Kinks Kronikles (1972): On Second Thought

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A double album, The Kinks Kronikles features an inviting assortment of hit singles, non-hit singles, B-sides of singles and previously unreleased material. Focusing on the years 1966-1970, the collection examines the legendary British band’s most creative period, signalled by astute and imaginative lyrics and melodies rich with color and mobility.

Bleeding with resolved alientation, “Waterloo Sunset” glistens with purity and polish, the toe-tapping shuffle of “The Village Green Preservation Society” demands God save china cups, Donald Duck and virginity, and “David Watts,” which reveals envy for a popular classmate, locks in as a vibrant rocker, bolstered by fist-pumping harmonies and pin-sharp hooks.

On the vaudeville-fashioned “Sunny Afternoon,” the greedy old tax man has rendered the once wealthy narrator poor and idle, while “Lola,” with its nagging beat and infectious chorus, recounts an incident with a transvestite. A top-shelf power-chord raver, “She’s Got Everything” stutters to a swinging pitch, “Shangri-La” serves as an able fusion of folk influences and rocking brawn, “This Is Where I Belong” jangles with verve, and “Victoria” skips and scurries to a plucky gait.

Lead vocalist and songwriter Ray Davies may command the lion’s share of acclaim, but brother Dave — who provides the fetching fretwork — is equally talented in such matters. And the proof is heard on a pair of his solo efforts, the strumming hum of “Suzannah’s Still Alive” and “Death Of A Clown,” which nails a scruffy Bob Dylan inspired vocal to a tipsy pub styled sing-a-long tenor.

The Kinks have always pretty much operated in their own sphere, and The Kinks Kronikles (Reprise Records) covers enough ground to emphasize the band’s uniqueness. At the time these tracks were cut, the greater percent of the band’s contemporaries were engaged in psychedelic pursuits or playing super heavy rock. But the Kinks, although they did go through a concept album phase that produced some question marks, remained true to form and structure.

An outstanding pouring of songs, The Kinks Kronikles is a nice introduction to one of the world’s best bands, as well as a must have for those who have been supporters since the beginning.

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson

Beverly Paterson was born the day Ben E. King hit No. 4 with "Stand By Me" -- which is actually one of her favorite songs, especially John Lennon's version. She's contributed to Lance Monthly and Amplifier, and served as Rock Beat International's associate editor. Paterson has also published Inside Out, and Twist & Shake. Contact Something Else! at reviews@somethingelsereviews.com.
Beverly Paterson
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