The Kinks, Sleepwalker

Chris Hunt

By Chris Hunt

Contributor
on 04.22.11 in Reviews

Sleepwalker

The Kinks
The Kinks get down to the serious business of rocking.

A new record deal with Arista saw the Kinks transforming themselves into a US-style rock band. While Sleepwalker may lack the lyrical finesse of its predecessors, Ray Davies was once again writing the kind of powerful rock riffs that his brother thrived on. Having come out of the studio with 20 songs, Davies paired his work down to nine, ruthlessly trimming his elaborate arrangements. There are some priceless melodies — "Life On the Road," the string-laden "Brother" and the gorgeous "Stormy Sky" — hiding among the out and out rockers, but discovering the bonus tracks has its own rewards, including two versions of the simply beautiful "On the Outside." "Prince of the Punks," meanwhile, was a single b-side aimed squarely by Davies at his erstwhile protégé Tom Robinson, with savage lines like "tried to be gay, but it didn't pay" and "he acts working class but it's all baloney, he's really middle class and he's just a phony."