The Kinks

Muswell Hillbillies

Legacy

Jan 08, 2015 Issue #52 - January/February 2015 - St. Vincent Bookmark and Share


The lofty reputations of two masterful preceding concept albums1968's The Kinks Are the Village Green Preservation Society and 1969's Arthurhave long overshadowed Muswell Hillbillies, originally released to little fanfare in 1971. If Hillbillies' gifts are modest relative to the sublimely esoteric Village Green or Arthur's epic sweep, the record remains a minor classic. It's both acute exploration of working class London and wildly ironic exercise in genre hopping; sunny ragtime morphs into sly environmental commentary and jaunty New Orleans jazz scores a schizophrenic's unraveling (though straightforward heartbreaker "Oklahoma U.S.A." is the true highlight).

A live DVD and bonus cuts, including the awesome "Lavender Lane," lend added texture to this little world, which was already rich with small-scale tragedies and motley beauty. (www.thekinks.info)

Author rating: 8.5/10

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