You Really Got Me made The Kinks stars. Following their first album they were bundled off onto a world tour and asked for a second album. Under the circumstances it may not be surprising that Kinda Kinks is not their finest work; what it is, however, is a big step up from their debut album.
The fact that ten of the twelve tracks were written by Ray Davies gives it a less erratic sound than its predecessor, and is an early sign that Ray Davies had a gift for songwriting.
Dave Davies, for his part, has moved on from the distorted hard rock guitar sound he all but invented, allowing the band to start to find its own sound other than that of a bunch of too-noisy teenagers with a broken amp.
And so it came to pass that after a couple of fairly forgettable tracks (one of which, Got My Feet On The Ground, was co-written by Dave Davies), the more refined sound and Ray’s storytelling style of songwriting combine to create Nothin’ In This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl, a downbeat, acoustic number, almost as alien in context as You Really Got Me had been.
The distorted guitar sound does make a comeback though, albeit in a slightly more mellow form for Tired Of Waiting For You, which would go on to be the band’s second UK number one.
Annoyingly, on the CD version it is followed by a rubbish and pointless cover of Dancing In The Street, which served only to prove that The Kinks should not be recording other people’s songs.
A more melodic side to the Kinks’ sound and Ray’s writing is clearly evolving here; for the most part the original songs here could just as easily come from some other band of the era, but, as the final track on the original album promises, there is Something Better Beginning.
Listen to a recent re-release on CD and as a bonus you will get a selection of singles from the immediate post-Kinda Kinks period, from the happy rock of Ev’rybody’s Gonna Be Happy to the more melancholy, almost psychadelic sounding See My Friends, along with other rarities and BBC recordings from the time.
Stand-out tracks: Without doubt Tired Of Waiting For You is the high point of the original album and classic Kinks, while Nothin’ In This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl deserves to be better known. Of the CD bonus tracks, A Well Respected Man is a perfect example of Ray Davies’ storytelling – but we’ll hear more about that in coming weeks.