Friday, February 26, 2016

Kinks 5: Kontroversy

While it was released a full four months later in the US than it was in the UK, and used different cover art, The Kink Kontroversy had the same track sequence everywhere, putting the band in the same company of the few contemporaries that cared about such things. And even though it was banged out in just about a week in the studio, the songs show the further maturation of Ray as a songwriter and the band as a band.
That said, their grungy take on “Milk Cow Blues” is something of a warmup, before the ultra-gentle “Ring The Bells”. “Gotta Get The First Plane Home” beats a basic riff into the ground, and teases us with the same note before “When I See That Girl Of Mine” bursts forth. Dave’s writing improves as well on “I Am Free”, a song his brother would be proud to write. (Name another song of the era that uses the word “convalesce”.) “Till The End Of The Day” revives the classic “Really Got Me” chording approach.
Side two begins with another terrific run of songs, beginning with the weariness of “The World Keeps Going Round”, followed by the goofy “I’m On An Island”. “Where Have All The Good Times Gone?” has the distinction of being covered by both David Bowie and Van Halen, and if you listen carefully, quotes recent lyrics from Beatles and Stones tunes. The tempo of “It’s Too Late” perhaps reveals their exhaustion of having to work so fast, and elevates Dave’s performance on “What’s In Store For Me” and the brothers’ blend on “You Can’t Win”.
Being a Shel Talmy production, the drums rattle like biscuit tins and the guitars are distorted. But the band sounds tight, thanks to Nicky Hopkins on piano and, apparently, Clem Cattini filling in for Mick Avory on the kit. The Kink Kontroversy was the band’s best album yet, and notable for not leaning solely on singles to drive sales. In fact, future reissues and Deluxe Editions only had to add one contemporary single to the picture, along with other B-sides, demos and BBC recordings.

The Kinks The Kink Kontroversy (1966)—

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