The Kinks In Mono is one giant glorious treat for the heart, a retrospective gift for the senses and emotions from one of the most influential bands the UK has produced. The Kinks have touched and influenced generation after generation of musicians and bands, their uniquely marvellous command of incisive and instinctive melodies, wickedly irresistible hooks as well as cheeky and intelligent lyrics found in the fabric of songwriting from The Jam to The Pretenders on through to current bands Young Knives and JacksonsWarehouse. The list of bands and artists inspired by Ray Davies and co could go on for page after page and for many of us forget The Beatles, The Kinks were the English greats that changed music.
To be honest first hearing of the box set and the fact that all the tracks were the mono recordings was not the most convincing proposition. First thoughts were what is there for diehard fans that have everything anyway and for newer recruits to their music and those used to digital sounds, what is the incentive to grab lower ‘quality’ recordings. Instantly the songs leapt from the speakers all doubts were squashed for these are not inferior recordings, yes the crispness may not be as it would digitally but all the heart and feeling is there and the raw sound gives the tracks a depth and the ear an authenticity and pure feeling that is lost when digitized.
The Kinks In Mono is a 10 CD box set consisting of the first seven Kinks albums from their debut self titled album through to Arthur plus 4 extra EPs and 2 volumes of further collectables in unissued tracks and various singles from around the world. With the added 32 page, pop annual style book with new liner notes, rare photos, memorabilia, discographical information and more, the release is a giant and pleasing package, an impossible to refuse invitation to dip into the history of The Kinks.
Listening to tracks brought home how from the first album they made a major mark on music that would last without any decline in effect. Kinks contained numerous great songs, of which only five were Kink originals and mainly delivered with an affected American accent. It was a strong album if hardly jaw dropping but it did contain ‘You Really Got Me’, the first on a subsequent conveyor belt of wonderfully inspirational songs that not only stand the test of time but still drive and influence new artists. From second album Kinda Kinks the band found the sound that grew to be quintessential Kinks with Davies singing in his genuine English accent and the sound that went on to mesmerise emerged.
The rest of the albums in the box set bring stunning gems such as ‘All Of The Day’, ‘Sunny Afternoon’, ‘ Waterloo Sunset’, personal favourite ‘Victoria’, and of course ‘Lola’ to just skim the musical cream on show. With everything packaged in an impressive rigid Dansette style box there is nothing skimped on presentation, the look matching the wonderful songs inside. Released through Sanctuary The Kinks In Mono is a must have for all discovering the beauty of The Kinks, yes it is a big package and substantial outlay but it is all there, everything to cover the most influential time of the band.
The fact that the recordings are mono is a major positive, the initial uncertainty wiped away immediately by the rawer punch and intenseness of the sound. It also brings the passion and attitude of the band and the time straight to the fore, something stereo recordings fail to portray very often. The Kinks In Mono is a treat, a must, and evidence, in case there are still some around unaware of how influential and important The Kinks were and still are in music.