The Kinks

The Kinks Are The Vil­lage Green Preser­va­tion So­ci­ety

Classic Rock - - The Hard Stuff - Nick Hasted

50th-an­niver­sary ex­trav­a­ganza for an en­dur­ing last stand. The Kinks were the only Bri­tish In­va­sion band to be re­pelled, banned from the US in 1965 and forced to watch ri­vals the Stones and The Who race past them into the new rock age. Front­man Ray Davies re­acted with this quixotic re­treat into English­ness and child­hood me­mories. Vil­lage Green Preser­va­tion is the al­bum’s na­tional an­them, but tremors of dis­quiet and dis­il­lu­sion shake the rus­tic calm. Touch th­ese good old days and they turn to dust.

An­drew San­doval’s re­mas­ter is per­haps in­ap­pro­pri­ately mus­cu­lar for a record Davies re­calls as de­lib­er­ately un­der­recorded ca­reer sui­cide, although it punches home the songs’ strengths. The Deluxe box set ver­sion then de­vel­ops the Vil­lage Green over five CDs of some­times re­dun­dant mono, stereo, back­ing track and live ver­sions, along­side arte­facts, LPs and sin­gles.

The con­sid­er­able hin­ter­land of con­tem­po­rary Kinks songs, from Days down, was first rounded up on 1973’s Davies­sup­pressed US re­lease The Great Lost Kinks Al­bum, then more com­pre­hen­sively on 2004’s VGPS three-CD ver­sion. Could Be You’re Get­ting Old and Pic­tures In The Sand, a song for Davies’s baby daugh­ter, are added to the lat­ter here, along with Time Song, a haunt­ing, for­got­ten track de­buted at a con­cert cel­e­brat­ing Britain’s Com­mon Mar­ket en­try. Re­vived as that dream dies, it typ­i­cally saw trou­ble ahead. Most valu­able and touch­ing are a med­ley of home demos. At a time of cri­sis which all this mu­sic fought, th­ese are the frag­ile foun­da­tions of The Kinks’ de­fin­i­tive al­bum.

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