Picks and Pans Review: State of Confusion
These grand old delinquents seem to have survived by keeping more than one irony in the fire and by blending old musical ideas with new raucous rock. Led by producer/composer/vocalist/guitarist Ray Davies, the British quintet logs another typically colorful musical mile with this, its 28th LP (counting anthologies). Like The Who and the Stones, the Kinks have thrashed out a distinctive band style considerably different from that of their initial recordings nearly 20 years ago. Now Davies' crew often sounds like a sophisticated version of a boozy frat-party band performing tunes laced with anger, derision, self-mockery and astonishment. The nastiest sentiments on this LP are meted out to those Young Conservatives who have shrugged off the revolutionary sensibilities of such Aquarius babies as the Kinks. The bourgeoisie get their comeuppance too in Cachés of the World (B Movie). Most of this collection, however, seems devoted to emotional turmoil, which is understandable since Davies recently fathered an out-of-wedlock child by his inamorata, Chrissie Hynde of the Pretenders (they reportedly have no plans to marry). The title cut, Labour of Love and Property are all concerned with the fallout from broken relationships. Davies has always been a critic of private and public behavior, but his insight into the vagaries of life and his songcraft seem particularly incisive here. In Definite Maybe, for instance, he writes, "Got a letter through the post/That says I don't exist/Apparently the new computer/Thinks I won't be missed."
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