ARTIST: The Kinks
TITLE: Face to Face
YEAR RELEASED: 1966
CHART ACTION: #135 US, #12 UK
SINGLES: Sunny Afternoon (#14 US, #1 UK)
OTHER SONGS YOU MAY KNOW: Fancy, perhaps.
LINEUP: Ray Davies, Dave Davies, Pete Quaife, Mick Avory, Nicky Hopkins
WHAT’S IT ALL ABOUT: The Kinks set about to re-invent themselves and their sound based on the sound of their latest hit singles, and succeed.
SOME WORDS, PHRASES AND CLAUSES ABOUT THIS RECORD: Ray Davies’ writing, especially his ear for arrangements and melody, had taken leaps and bounds in 1965 and blossomed in 1966. His eye for comment and observation was getting keen and sharp, and this entire album is full of snippets of life as he saw it.
Instead of pure guitar / bass / drums – the Kinks introduced disparate elements such as harpshicord and clavichord, all played by Hopkins (as well as the piano and organ). Over the next few years, the Kinks would be less of a rock band than a baroque pop band.
Songs like “Holiday in Waikiki”, “Session Man”, “Dandy”, “Fancy”, and “Sunny Afternoon” would be unheard of by this band in early 1965. Now, they were the way to the future for the band. This is a solid record, transitional sure, but well worth hearing all the way through.
NOTES & MINUTIAE: The year 1966 was an ‘interesting’ year. The Kinks found themselves banned from playing in the US, and Quaife was injured and quit the band, only to return.
IS THERE A DELUXE VERSION: Yes, with some off-album singles: Dead End Street (#73 US, #5 UK) and Mister Pleasant (#80 US), along with their B-sides and outtakes. The bonus tracks are just as solid as the album.
GRADE: A-: Davies and the Kinks put together his first complete album, untouched by the US company, and solid from track 1 to 14.