Thursday, November 29, 2012

#131: The Kinks - Face to Face (1966)

The Kinks were formed by the Davies brothers and were part of the British Invasion into American music. They rose to the top with hits such as, "You Really Got Me," but this particular album is a little different from that style. Like (what seems to be) with every set of musical brothers, they dismantled the band over creative differences. They are members of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, they had 17 top 20 singles, and 5 top 10 albums in the UK.

I know that this album is notable due to it's change over earlier Kink albums, but at times it feels more like a Beatles album to me than a Kinks. Obviously, they're both British rock and roll bands, but they're much more light-hearted this time around. When the Beatles do this type of floppy song it's in reverence to the genre and then they go back to the more difficult, deeper songs. The Kinks, however, never really graduate past this. They do have glimmers of brilliance and there's some really neat harmonies and melody lines that feature some dissonance and they work beautifully with the chord structure.

Too Much On My Mind
So it's not just the Byrds that have this prototypical 60's sound that I despise. Unfortunately for me, I have a lot of records to go before I get out of this period of music. If I keep hearing tracks like this, I may have to change the rules. There's just not enough musical ingenuity to the tracks. It's a formula of the genre in which every song sounds the exact same because it's popular (this isn't just a 1960's problem, there's issues with it today). Obviously it was big in it's time but it has not aged well.

A House in the Country
I don't know if I prefer this or "Rainy Day in June," both are candidates for best track on the album. This track features a lot more rock guitars, a bit of bluesy piano, a driving bass line, and some really cool rhythmic breaks. This song could easily be translated today and be a sneaky song that sticks with you.

All in all, it's a good album. It started out strong, got really rough, and then rebounded quickly. There were a few tracks where I was a bit worried about the overall quality, but they're an incredibly solid band. I'd definitely like to hear some later Kink albums and I think the guitars are something I could learn a lot from. As for every 60's album, the drums aren't as prominent or as interesting as I'd like them to be. I don't know if, "I'll Remember" was inspired by the Beatles or if the Beatles were inspired by the Kinks but the similarities are eerie.

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