Monday, January 19, 2009

The Kinks - Picture Book (Sanctuary, 2008)

The is one of the first attempts to anthologize the entirety of the career of one of my favorite rock 'n' roll bands, The Kinks. There's a lot of room to cover, from beat pioneers in the early 60's with hits like "You Really Got Me" and "Sunny Afternoon" to their finest moments (and lowest sales, ironically) in the late 1960's, with true masterpieces of rock music as artwork with albums like Village Green Presentation Society and Something Else. Things went south in the early 1970's as front man Ray Davies focused on massive multi-disc projects that alienated many listeners with their pretentiousness. The boxed set takes a warts and all approach, unapologetic in presenting the band's greatest flops as well as their greatest hits. Reinventing themselves yet again as arena rockers in the post punk late 1970's the band had a Renaissance with a few hit singles and well received tours. The compilers cherry pick well from this period as well as the band's slow fade during the 1980's and 90's. As fascinating as this set is, it will be interesting to see who is willing to pay the considerable price to pick it up. Die hard fans probably own most if not all of the material presented here, and newcomers are unlikely to want to wade through six discs worth of music. Regardless it is a well done and effective overview of a band that had a long and influential career.

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