4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
The Kinks first - and best - attempt at rock opera.,
By A Customer
This review is from: arthur, or the rise & fall of the british empire LP (Vinyl)
After the social satire of their mid-Sixties releases, and their ultra-English concept album VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY, the Kinks recorded this, the first (and by far the best) of their 'rock operas'. Released the same year as The Who's TOMMY, it is this album more than any other that demonstrates just what it was that made The Kinks so different from their contemporaries: bombastic parables about a messianic deaf, dumb and blind kid were just not head Kink Ray Davies' cup of tea - more to his liking was a nostalgic (though suprising angry) tale of a quiet suburban man who spends his life sitting by the fireside inside his semi reflecting upon the momentous events that have taken place over his lifetime. Thus, the album opens with a blast of late-Victorian optimism (the fantastic 'Victoria'), before detailing the long decline of British Imperial power: from the First World War (the poignant 'Some Mother's Son'), to the post-war class struggle ('Yes Sir, No Sir'), rise of the middle-class (the music hall ompah of 'She Bought A Hat Like Princess Marina'), and on into the Sixties (the reserved resignation of 'Drivin'). Whilst not quite attaining the heights of their masterpiece VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY, this album demonstrates why The Kinks have exerted such a strong influence upon so many British bands (see The Jam, The Smiths, Blur, Manic Street Preacher, et al) and contains perhaps their finest song ('Shangri-La'), along with other essential Kinks recordings such as 'Victoria', 'Yes Sir, No Sir' and 'Australia'. A must for any Kinks fan.