Face To Face (1966)
Coming amidst the extraordinary outpouring of great British music in the year 1966, which included the Beatles’ Revolver, the Who’s A Quick One and the Stones’ Aftermath, Ray and the Kinks more than held court with the extraordinary Face To Face, a non-stop blast of garage-pop gems replete with the Davies’ typically acid social commentary. Opener “Party Line” is a brilliantly funny take on Ray’s ever encroaching paranoia while the sardonic get-away-gone-wrong snarl of “Holiday In Waikiki” anticipates the Clash’s “Safe European Home” by more than a decade. Elsewhere, the band’s preoccupation with the perils of conspicuous consumption gets its first real airing on “A House In The Country” and “Most Exclusive Residence For Sale.” Though less well-remembered than the work of their more celebrated contemporaries, Face To Face finds the Kinks writing and innovating at a pace equivalent to even the Lennon-McCartney juggernaut. And they were just getting started.