The Kinks: Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire): 50th Anniversary Edition (BMG) Review | Under the Radar - Music Magazine
Friday, July 10th, 2020  

The Kinks

Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire): 50th Anniversary Edition


Jan 03, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

Following the perceived flop of the now-lauded Village Green Preservation Society in 1968, Ray Davies, never a band leader to follow the path of least resistance, chose to follow it up with another ambitious working class concept album: Arthur (Or the Decline and Fall of the British Empire.

Created to accompany a never-produced TV play, Arthur boasts timeless beauties like The Fall favorite "Victoria" and the quirky jerk of "Plastic Man," while following the imagined tale of Davies' real-life brother-in-law, a carpet layer living in post-war London, attempting to build a life for his family ("Shangri-La") and looking back at times of war ("Mr. Churchill Says").

It was, as noted by contemporary critics, easily the equal of The Who's Tommy, yet one is tempted to think it a better albumless bluster, more poignancy, extremely eccentric. Simply put, here we have some of the very best and most influential songs of the late '60s. This reissue is a delightful package with a mono and stereo mix of the album proper plus hits played live at the BBC that will delight fans.

If you haven't experienced the legitimate genius of The Kinks this is as good a place as any of their 1960s/early '70s albums to start. (

Author rating: 9.5/10

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Average reader rating: 9/10


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