The Kinks – Face to Face (Castle, 1966)
This album came at an interesting juncture in The Kinks career, being released between their earlier hits as a singles related band and their classic concept albums coming down the road. This album is singles related, but Ray Davies songwriting is starting to turn toward the pithy examination of postwar society and culture in England that would become a hallmark of the band’s work. Far from a mere transitional album, the record shows the band comfortable in both settings, still being able to produce dependable singles for the 45 rpm market while starting to string together their songs along a coherent theme.
“Holiday in Waikiki” and “Most Exclusive Residence for Sale” both lampoon culture in general and English culture in particular. “Wonderboy” was the designated single from the record, although it did not do as well as anticipated. The record includes some of the Kinks most snarling tunes, “I’m Not Like Everybody Else” and the classic misanthropic anthem “Sunny Afternoon.” The whole album is worthwhile and started one of the most consistently great runs in rock history as the Kinks put out some of the most well crafted records imaginable from 1967-72. Sadly, people had all but stopped listening, as the Kinks music turned inward, and the music of pop culture looked outward toward psychedelia.
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