Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: Kinks Deluxe Editions

Let’s just get right to it: The Kinks’ early work has never sounded as good as it does on Sanctuary/UME’s new deluxe editions. Until now, most of the band’s ‘60s records have sounded lousy on CD. First released on Castle Records in the late ‘80s when CD technology was still wetting the bed, The Kinks’ Pye catalog wasn’t subjected to a major remastering until 1998 when Castle put out its muddy mono mixes. Then in 2004, The Kinks finally received the care they deserve. Well, at least their best album did when Sanctuary released a sumptuous triple-disc edition of Village Green Preservation Society with a mastering job that couldn’t be beat. After a seven year wait, Sanctuary is giving The Kinks’ other albums similar treatment. Like that now out-of-print deluxe Village Green, these double-disc editions of Kinks, Kinda Kinks, and The Kink Kontroversy sound great; not unnecessarily loud, but louder, warmer, more detailed, and more fully dimensional than any previous versions. Stand back as Ray Davies’s harmonica slashes through the speakers like a straight razor on “Long Tall Shorty”. Listen to Dave Davies’s fingertips pulling off his acoustic strings on “Nothin’ in This World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl”. Get knocked out by the mighty thwack of Clem Cattini’s drum kit on “The World Keeps Goin’ ‘Round” (Mick Avory sat out Kontroversy).

Andrew Sandoval and Dan Hersch put a lot of care and consideration into their remastering job. The proper albums and singles are pristine, yet the guys allow a bit of noise to crackle beneath some of the bonus outtakes rather than compress the life out of them. Compare the rich sound of “Time Will Tell” on the deluxe Kontroversy to the brittle master on the Picture Book box set. Clearly Sandoval and Hersch made the right decision to favor 3-D sound over overly compressed cleanliness. Few of the bonus outtakes on these discs were previously unreleased, but they sound so good here that you’ll believe you’re hearing them for the first time.

As for the albums themselves, Kinks may be the weakest debut album by a major British band of the ‘60s, but it is delivered with plenty of punk energy and includes the monumental “You Really Got Me” and the pretty “Stop Your Sobbing”. Kinda Kinks leaves the R&B covers by the wayside to make way for Ray’s songwriting, which blossoms on Kontroversy. These are not The Kinks' greatest albums (you’ll have to wait until June for those), but the latter two are very, very good ones. The bonus disc of Kinda is a real rarity in that it’s actually better than the album it augments. That disc includes such wonderful singles as “Set Me Free”, “I Need You”, and “See My Friends”; the marvelous, acoustic Kwyet Kinks E.P.; and a superb selection of “How did these end up as outtakes?” outtakes.

Get these Kinks deluxe editions at below:


Kinda Kinks

The Kink Kontroversy
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