Having overseen the decline and fall of the British Empire on their previous album, Arthur, The Kinks reconvened to unravel the cross-dressing glory of Lola and the marvels of Denmark Street (where Ray Davies bough the Dobro and Martin acoustic guitars he uses on the album), and then stepped back from the whole glam rock explosion whose invention they’d surely had a hand in.
Lola’s louche novelty aside, the whole Powerman and Moneygoround concept never really convinced, but there are great songs here; Apeman, Dave Davies’s Strangers and the rocking Rats echo the band’s amazing live shows of that era. Adorned with demos and instrumentals, this reissue demands respect.
They followed their transgender Soho sojourn with Percy, the soundtrack to a film about the world’s first penis transplant. Again Ray is in his element in chronicling the hinterlands of London Town and his own urban patch. Energised by the prospects of writing for celluloid, the band enhanced their stature with Animals In The Zoo and bassist John Dalton’s outing on Willesden Green where he gives his Elvis Presley impersonation an unlikely setting.
Both albums now sound like valuable groundwork for the great Muswell Hillbillies, and both can be greeted like old friends.