Album Review: “Something Else” By The Kinks
Something Else album cover - german martinez / Youtube
Something Else by The Kinks derived its sound from the band’s past pop appeal and their upcoming experimental era, which made the album a crossroads affair of sorts. This was also the last album that their trusted producer Shel Talmy – Ray Davies lent a hand in its production as he needed the experience to handle the responsibility for their upcoming albums. The Kinks were beginning to be known for profound songs at this point, not wanting to compete with their psychedelic peers just to join the market share.
Opening the album is “David Watts”, poking fun on the English schoolboy culture with a hint of the Stones in it. Next is “Death Of A Clown”, an acoustic track and has Dave Davies on lead vocals with Ray’s wife Rasa providing a haunting backing vocal performance. “Two Sisters” follows it up with a pop-ish arrangement aided with a pleasant harpsichord utilization, while “No Return” is simple bossa nova all the way, succeeded by “Harry Rag” that sports a marching cadence. “Tin Soldier Man” shows the band’s experimental side with horns emblazoned throughout the rocker, while “Situation Vacant” closes the first side with organ frills and an everyday life theme.
Side two starts with “Love Me Till The Sun Shines”, another Dave Davies track that dabbles into psychedelic territory and is further expanded upon “Lazy Old Sun”. The following songs – “Afternoon Tea”, “Funny Face”, and “End of the Season” – are decent numbers, but don’t stand out as much as the aforementioned. But the album closer “Waterloo Sunset” is a cut above the rest, based on a descending progression that’s made full by an acoustic and electric guitar duet enhanced by the bass, and is augmented by their top-notch vocal harmonies.
While it didn’t perform that well commercially, Something Else propelled The Kinks’ creative energy to pursue more experimental commitments in the future.