The previous cd issue of Face to Face was bass-light and too high at the top end, making it sound incredibly dated. Despite being called a 'remaster' it was not up to scratch.
But the good news is that this really is. The mastering has been done well, sorting out the issues mentioned above and at last helping the drums and guitars to sound like drums and guitars. Due to the nature of how the Kinks recorded, it's not necessarily a slick sound by any means, but it is clearer whilst retained the dirtiness which is typical of their earlier sound. It's hard to imagine this sounding better.
The packaging itself has been really well done, with a great booklet, lots of photos and a really nicely designed chunky fold out case. There is also the advantage of both stereo and mono recordings with all the singles and b-sides (Look out in particular for Big Black Smoke!). These sound great.
Overall it's the mono which wins out for me. The stereo has a brittle prettiness to it which is really nice, but there is a purposefulness and intensity to the mono which fits the dark lyrics. At times Ray sounds on the edge of a mental breakdown and its worth listening to the lyrics carefully to find the desperation beneath the cheeky smile. Lyrically he is incredible.
This is a great place to start if you have the best of the Kinks and want to expand your collection. Highly recommended.