Sandy Pearlman – “Doors & Kinks” (1968)

August 4, 2009 at 10:13 am (Jim Morrison, Music, Reviews & Articles)

This imaginatively-titled, highly-literate epic treatise on The Doors and The Kinks was written by Sandy Pearlman, early contributer to Crawdaddy! Pearlman later went on to produce and write lyrics for Blue Oyster Cult, as well as produce The Clash, The Dictators, etc.  
This comes from issue #12 of
Crawdaddy! – January 1968. It’s pretty strange, yet fascinating – just like everything Pearlman wrote…

 

Somewhere out on Long Island there is a guy who is keeping himself busy by fashioning a Jim Morrison doll. Some think he is a sick boy, a very sick boy. But maybe there was nothing better to do? Why not? So for lack of anything better to do, he did this: he took a Marine G.I. Joe model, he threw away the camouflage clothing, which left exposed a groovy pink plastic body with an unprecedentedly large number of unmutated limbs and organs, and then he got himself some soft black leather, sewed it up (learning how as he went or maybe some random girl did it) on a machine, and planned, I think, to top it off with a brownish Barbie doll wig brushed back.

R. Meltzer, too, has spoken of Morrison and leather: with Morrison, “Leather must be treated as functional – not the Warhol-Reed bit – held up in its black splendor by metal, or supporting a frail yet happy chuck-wagon bell.” Clearly Morrison is the hero. As Gloria Stavers of Sixteen magazine has said: “Morrison is magic.” Obviously. Morrison can inspire faith. He puts life into the scene. Ed Sullivan thinks, “Isn’t he handsome.” And to quote the mystic and voodoo adept L. Silvestri, “I believe him to be a being not of this earth.” But, we shouldn’t be entirely misled. The Doors, as a group, have a lot to do with faith. Morrison is merely the prettiest one dressed in leather. But, for example, who knows what evil lurks in the heart of Manzarek?

As for the Kinks. If we are to believe the album covers: “They came to us from Muswell Hill, a shabby and sometimes violent suburb of North London, the pride of which was a street gang called the Mussies.” And of course, as usual, “They came to us from art school.” For the consumption of the public, they had Ray Davies, just as the Doors have Jim Morrison. Now Ray Davies was not entirely different from Morrison. First of all he was handsome enough. And then he was quite athletic – playing a lot of football and all. And going Morrison one better he made up most of the words – and the music. He also had a really handsome brother, Dave, super-chording lead guitarist of “You Really Got Me” at the age of 17, author and performer of several great songs and the owner of the finest hair in all of Rock and Roll (with the possible exception of Bob Weir). But nobody makes Ray Davies dolls. He is not, it turns out, the hero to inspire faith. But he is pretty cynical. Thoroughly disenchanted.

Welcome, the Doors’ new album Strange Days and the Kinks’ newest The Live Kinks. Both feature an unusual beef-tongue density, i.e. a huge density of really fat or effective unknown tongues. They are nonetheless separated by months of release time and maybe even, I should think, some differences of intent. Now mere difference, mere differences, can be merely superficial, but that doesn’t mean they don’t make a difference. We ought to give the superficial a fair shake. But behold that – in this particular case – beyond all possible differences, there is an abyss problem (maybe even the abyss problem) bothering the Doors, the Kinks and (at least) some of us. Of course, the abyss has always been big, deep, awesome, attractive, fearsome. Which is to say – exactly what you can make of it. And that should mean, to give the superficial its big break, we’ve got to know that everybody is fixed on the abyss in his own way. Here, then, are your Doors and your Kinks at the ever-classical abyss. In the footsteps of all of his predecessors – from the miscellaneous earliest Greeks on – and probably influenced by them as well, since this boy went to college, is Morrison. Morrison has spoken (now a quote from one of the many interchangeable spots in the new Elektra Doors P.R. kit), “I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder, chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning.” Potential idea of an absolute lack. Not yet even a vision. Because visions are far too specific and disappointing. If you like, the vision can be scary. If you like. And if you were attracted to scared you could reify the intimations of the abyss. That is you could make disorder absolute, comprehensive, modular. By merely offering instances of disorder you can order it. Which is not necessarily your standard avoidance reaction at all. Plausibly it could be just a mere reaction. A formal sort of thing that is just always done. Or it could even be love (i.e. attraction reaction). But whatever, that reaction implicitly overcomes the abyss. I guess merely reacting would have to undermine disorder. And that’s how the Doors found comfort in a name game. And that’s how Morrison got fixed on the abyss.        

The Doors’ “Back Door Man” and the Kinks’ “Dandy” … of these two, there are those who would dare say “no confluence.” And yet “Back Door Man” seen live many times, and then heard – at last – dead on the grooves, is a very neat thing. With all those grunts and stuff, it’s where the inordinacy really starts. (As well as the leather.) “I am,” Morrison says, “the back door man. The men don’t know but the little girls understand.” This is the spot for categorical statement. After too many years of bluesy overuse, this song can’t even prove disconcerting through embarrassment. “I am.” And we are in the presence of definitive charisma. Mere categorical assertion slipping up and off into arrogance. “I am.” Absolutely categorical assertion has here become systematically assertive. (If you say something strangely enough it assumes an inexplicable aura of strength.) The strength of this categorical assertion is so enormous that not only does it encompass the whole world (i.e., as a systematic construction), but it becomes unnatural. That’s when it surpasses all reason and arrives at Meltzer’s categorical magical. Starting with household fornication we’ve gotten to a magical collapse of the world. This is no sly boy. This Back Door Man has absolute faith (“I am”) and is also inspiring.

Dandy is, on the other hand, found “Knocking on the back door, climbing through the window.” Knocking. Even climbing. He surely sounds sly. But only in Herman’s famous version. Not as famous – but far more questionable – are the way the Kinks do it. Herman’s Dandy is absolutely sly. With him the skill of the sly boy justifies absolute confidence. Going to show you that there is necessary cleavage between the sly and the faithful. But the Kinks’ two versions? They are certainly different from Herman’s. I mean, they’re really exemplary of the Kinks’ most up-to-date methods. When Ray Davies shouts – over and over – “Dandy, you’re all right,” that’s an all time desperation tongue. (Rivaling even the platinum standard for these tonguings, Mick Jagger’s “It’s All Right.”) It turns the song’s cynical brutalization ominous, while simultaneously generating such a seemingly complex disparity of intentions as to render all possible single conclusions unquestionably questionable. This is the Kinks’ “interference effect” – and it’s as effective a ploy as was Herman’s contradiction, which is now unfortunately played out due (perhaps?) to Herman’s ever-increasing age and sophistication. Thus: the light-as-snow skip of “Dandy”’s melody interferes with the desperation tongue which interferes with the sly words which interfere with Ray Davies’ unique tone of voice, and so forth. At last everything is merely questionable. But cumulatively all this brings us back to the abyss. The simple accumulation of the questionable is preparation for a bigger tumble. Interestingly this interference effect is compressed in the live (on The Live Kinks) as opposed to the dead version (on Face to Face), by subsuming the performance values under the amphetamine rage which English rock guys like to assume when confronting an audience. That is to say, the dead “Dandy” is far more questionable.    

Everyone knows that the English scene got its start on r&b. It even bloomed that way. As the British correspondent for one American pulp throwaway said on the eve of 1965: “1965 will be an r&b year.” But who could have imagined it assuming such a gloriously cynical aura. Why just last week R. Meltzer awoke with “Ride on Baby” writ large on his mind. And Flowers, Between the Buttons, Sergeant Pepper, Happy Jack, not to mention the fabulous Kinks Kontroversy and Face to Face, are further evidence for the rise of cynicism. For these big boys cynicism naturally appears as a long-term byproduct (or rationalization) of the writing process. A sort of internal necessity. But, turning back on the clock, we do find that the Kinks started out traditionally sincere.

“You Really Got Me” was (mostly) just another great English r&b album from 1964-65. (The time, after all, of the Nashville Teens.) It was distinguished by the title song which unveiled their “wall of sound” (a technical term off an album cover) and sounded astringent. So the Kinks are astringently kinetic. They get a lot of movement and density from these tricks; percussive super-chording guitar, seeming rhythmic constancy in the bass (which is heavy and sticky) and Ray Davies, on the other hand, confronted with what looks like the abyss, said this: “Someone told me a very funny story about Jim Baxter, who scored the winning goal for Scotland against England a few seasons ago. He beat three men and drove the ball past Banks, then threw his arms up in the air and proclaimed: ‘Tha’s the greetest gule y’ule ayer see.’ I like that.” Ray Davies is circumspect. Well, to be ironical is to assume a delicate stance at the lip of the abyss. And that’s different from Morrison’s.      

The Doors are spectral. Maybe more than anybody. What counts is the impression for which no significant referent detail can or should be found. The music ends and there is no detail which you can refer to actually justify your impression. But you have that impression. And it’s not even ambiguous. “The little girls they understand.” Understand? Most importantly, there is a statement being made. But how? Take the word of a Doors song. Lots of people think the songs make them “swim in mystery.” And if they think so, then they do. But usually the words aren’t really bizarre or neat enough to do that. Everybody I know thought that Strange Days wasn’t half as much fun as the first album. They figured Morrison would be a better old time type poet by now. Give the boy time, you know, he’ll grow. But in an old timesy poetry sense his songs weren’t any better. The words were good enough to be unambiguously assertive, to literally make a statement. Not good enough to automatically give you the creeps. Since the company men printed all the words (even some that weren’t there) on the inner record sleeve, there was disappointment in homes all over America. At last everything could be understood all at once. The context of mystery, a hangover from what the first album did to us all, and reinforced by the resemblance of so much of the music on the second to that of the first album, seemed threatened by clarity. Manzarek talks this way: “We’re saying that you’re not only spirit, you’re also this very sensuous being. That’s not evil, that’s a really beautiful thing. Hell appears so much more fascinating and bizarre than heaven. You have to ‘break on through to the other side’ to become the whole being.” Talking, that is, like everybody else, about how the Doors are going to take you somewhere else. As if there were somewhere else to go. I mean it would only be somewhere else if you couldn’t think of it. Conceivable things, things thought of, are well on their way to becoming familiar. The bizarre is only a name for potentially something you might think of.   

So here are the points. The Doors’ words aren’t bizarre enough. But even the words of really conventionally neat stuff (The Bible; Baudelaire; miscellaneous batwinged English poets, i.e. Blake/Coleridge; R. Meltzer, etc.) stop being bizarre when you set eyes upon them. Familiarity nibbles away surprise, and supposed then somebody sets out not to surprise you, but just to tell you what’s gotta be. Et bien, God only knows that this is what the Doors had in mind. Probably not, from the seriousness of their comments in Newsweek, the now defunct New York World Journal Tribune, the U.C.L.A. Daily Bruin, Los Angeles Free Press, Hullabaloo, The New York Post, Teen Screen, Crawdaddy!, the East Village Other, and other, other rags. But it happened anyway. Not good enough to be even Bizarro bizarre, their words are good enough to direct our intention towards the mysterious. Good enough to make impressions specific, direct and to imprison our attention; not good enough to get us all excited and provoked. That’s why they don’t read so nice and nobody should have printed them. Printing them gave folks the wrong idea.

But suddenly that previously mentioned specter rears up. A really awesome monster, it comes on rushing like Diz-Busters with too much iron in its bloodstream and zero invisibility. The first words are a simple assertion: “Strange days have found us.” More akin to a command than a provocation. Neither is the music too provocative. There are a lot of priori mystery sounds. Likely to conform to a listener’s preconceived and typical ideas of what sounds mysterious. Movie music could have been a big influence. Check the surrealist organ on “Strange Days” and “Unhappy Girls,” or that bass entrance on “You’re Lost Little Girl” which smacks of the pulp mystery (crime-detective) movie music of the era 1940-1960. I can see The Doors scoring the Invasion of the Body Snatchers or even the fabulous Mysterians. But it is your Krieger who really outdoes himself. This nice boy, often looking perplexed on stage, who may be the first with the Jimi Hendrix hair, who plays slowly with not as many notes as some, is revealed as a master of the left hand. A guitar scientist like the above Hendrix, he uses the instrument to produce explicitly technological-sounding sounds. Radically distending all sorts of notes on “Moonlight Drive.” An inordinate number some might think, without realizing that with The Doors (especially on Strange Days) inordinacy (as with Hendrix) has become stylistic. By the way, “Moonlight Drive” is also ok as half of an extraordinary Turkey Tongue system. A Turkey Tongue occurs when one cut is obviously inadequate – at least within the immediate context – as to require the following cut to adequately/ecstatically complete it. (Some classic Turkey Tongue systems are: “Mind Garden” – “My Back Pages” and “The Sergeant Pepper Reprise” – “A Day in the Life Of.”) The Strange Days Turkey Tongue is at the excruciating juncture of “Horse Latitudes” and “Moonlight Drive.” This ecstatic union turns their implicit comparison into symbiosis and their equally differential into a relationship. As a good Turkey Tongue it rescues everything in sight.

The Doors’ music functions as an absolute context. Certainly inordinancy (or even simple overstatement) had much to do with this. They put together a strikingly dense combination of assertive words, quintessential pulp sounds, Morrison’s tone of voice, his clothing, animal noises and athletics, making a statement which works for everybody. And that generated an unmistakeably explicit mystery field. They really stated this and that: “Strange days have tracked us down,” “You’re lost little girl,” “Unhappy girl, fly fast away, don’t miss your chance to swim in mystery,” “People are strange when you’re a stranger,” etc. Who ever could have believed that the mysterious could come out of such unambiguous overstatement? They did it by dropping the traditional provocative appeals to the imagination and replacing them with instructions. At last mystery and imagination have been divorced. By the Doors. This is a surprise. This is ironic. This is ingenious.          

And now for the Doors’ specter. It first appears full grown, hovering like St. Elmo’s famous fire, around “Back Door Man.” But more of that later. Absolute contextualization has fully directed our attention so that the household phrases finally become inordinantly expansive. Imagine “When the music’s over, turn out the lights,” winding up with the long awaited resurrection. Imagine that. But we shouldn’t be too shocked. Word expansion (via an explicit or implicit field) is an old trick of Yeats and the Beatles. The specter itself is also overly familiar. Its spirit has a plentitude of arrogant and assertive disorder. Disorder has been rationalized by The Doors into something both comprehensive and modular. The spirit is comprehensive so as to taint anything they turn to. And modular so as to be applicable anywhere. That’s how The Doors taint the world. But understand there are kinds of purity. And the world can be purified by tainting it. Morrison has said: “It is a search, an opening of doors. We’re trying to break through to a clearer, purer realm.” (And along these lines don’t you forget that the melody for “My Eyes Have Seen You” starts off like the Ajax ad, “Stronger Than Dirt.”) Now if things have been absolutely tainted, they have also attained a certain absolute purity. An arrangement according to a perfect order. Purity is after all only a neutral, modular term. And for where good and/or evil come in, let’s tell a story.

Once there was a man called Gille De Raiz. He was unique because he managed to discipline both himself and his world according to Science Fiction imagination. After it was all over they called him “Bluebeard.” But he started out as a big nobleman, Marshall of France and Chief Aide to Joan of Arc. Inspired by the going examples, he wanted to make it as a saint. But having failed at that, he turned antithetical and became a real, little devil instead. This meant he stuck pitchforks up virgins and swam in the entrails of even the youngest children. There was also some black conjuring involved. Anyway, whatever he did, he did consistently, purely and absolutely. Terrific discipline directed his disorder. Science Fiction was in the saddle.

The Abyss. The Abyss is a potential – always potential – idea of absolute disorder, and I think that everybody has it at one time or another. Only potential because minds never actually grasp or encompass anything that bizarre. Because that sort of cognition would imply familiarization. And, truthfully, nothing can be both familiar and bizarre. I mean, that life these days is so consistently wonderful, and you see so much, especially at home on the tv, that the formerly bizarre has become (at best) charming. And so the bizarre is dead. And maybe mice, buffalos (because of their fringe) or even the Bonzo Dogs will be the next big thing. Be that as it may, the death of the bizarre makes it hard on traditional imagination. Now magnificent images are played out at birth. And that made it easy enough for the Doors to substitute their inordinate method for archaic imaginative provocation. Returning to The Abyss, it’s only a percussion, and lead riffs which are mostly Bizarro, rudimentary and hardly there anyway. As for the astringency, there is Ray Davies’ voice (strained as it sounds) and the fact that the melodies are usually only assumed. (Naked notes and chords without melodic mollification, sounding astringent.) Leaving this combination of vocals and band with the most consistently astringent rock sound of all time. An open invitation to Kinks’ plagiarism. Accepted by all of the other big boys. And a lot of little ones too. Incidentally, Peter Quaife’s bass entrance on The Live Kinks’ version of “You Really Got Me” is the occasion for a spectacular beef tongue. (Technically this tongue is a sliding dive from a major third to the tonic.) A fat one, it shows how profitable catering like a pig to an audience can be. Also it’s one of the most successful technologically produced animal noises.

On Kinks Size they do “Louie, Louie.” This is highly significant because it seems that the Kingsmen and their “Louie, Louie” are the source for the Kinks’ style. Recall that “Louie, Louie” was the big hit on the eve of Beatles in late 1963. And realize that the Kinks loved it well enough to even do it again on Kinks Kinkdom (a double cover). Played back-to-back (as at Salvation’s Halloween party), “Your Really Got Me” seems the plausible – if long awaited – sequel to “Louie, Louie.” And “Louie, Louie” becomes archetypically astringent, an influential song in the tradition of “Can I Get a Witness,” “Memphis,” “Hang on Sloopy,” “La Bamba” and “Tequila.” Kinks Size also has the Kinks’ second hit, “All Day and All of the Night,” a remake of “You Really Got Me,” in which (rare for a sequel) the internal tongue pressure remains enormous enough for grammatical structure to collapse as Ray Davies sings “Girl you and me last forever.” “So Tired of Waiting for You” is, of course, beautiful beyond words, so sad and so weary. The first confluence of astringency and the big Kinks’ theme of gentle and disappointed cynicism. Here it is that the Kinks’ first openly approach the abyss. Kinda Kinks featured almost the same cover photograph as Kinks Size. It also inaugurated another repetitious theme – the double K title. On it the boys rounded out their methodology. Their tone of voice (and pronunciation) became disorienting. An apparently sincere song like “Everybody’s Gonna Be Happy” was done questionably. Their voices had this really peculiar whine (Once, Paul Williams said, “What is so rare as a Kink in tune?”), The playing was rhythmically brutal. And it got hard to say what the intention was. But it’s probably just an early example of the interference effect.

Kinks Kinkdom was next. It had the unprecendented “A Well Respected Man” (their last major American hit), “Who’ll Be the Next in Line?” and “See My Friends.” And there were a lot of other great ones too. Obviously this record was an ursus magnus. It’s the first Kinks album to have noticeably fewer (absolutely and percentage-wise) repulsive cuts. “A Well Respected Man” spearheaded a then new – and currently dominant – trend toward brutal cynicism. They utilized the fragmentary enumeration of a few smutty or otherwise unsavory details as a method to discredit everything. (“He likes his fags the best … And his own sweat smells the best.”) This was very economical and demonstrated a “flair for detail.” Simultaneously the song sounded like Donovan. Impossible, you might think. (Had the interference effect really jumped the tracks by going referential?) But the folksy melody and the cultural shock of hearing Ray Davies’ voice thin, natural and alone, was actually enough to invoke the kind and flowery poet of the north. “See My Friends” proved atypically explicit and unambiguous. With “So Tired of Waiting for You” the weltschmertz could have verged on horribly metaphysical despair. Could have. But these boys looked healthy and the ambiguity was easily resolvable in the direction of a superficial sad and weary cynicism. But what if Ray Davies had discovered the secret relationship between everybody’s constant disappointment and the constancy of the turning earth? The secret of the Worm of Oroburo, even? “See My Friends” makes all this clear. Here’s real clarity, not given in a flash, but in the guise of, of all things, the Byrds.

First the words. They’re chanted in recurring cycles like this: 

            “See my friends,
            See my friends,
            Way across the river.
            She is gone,
            She is gone,
            And now there’s no one left
            ‘Cept my friends,
            Way across the river.” 

The band plays Byrd-like categorical-magical patterns. Rhythmically constant percussion (both drums and metal), constant bass and guitar. Making the words and music mutually reinforcing. Atypically the interference effect has dropped out. And it’s suddenly obvious that all that Kinks’ cynicism was yet another compact rationalization in the face of the abyss. Logically the abyss renders all conclusions questionable. The only way to authentically (and descriptively) handle anything is to put it in constant question. Positioning is primary. (Stand them on their heads and other ways too.) Both being funny and the interference do that. Later the Kinks even got obviously funny – since the subtle humor of the interference effect wasn’t subtle enough. But at this stage they settled for simplest subtlety. “See My Friends” is not only structurally (or formally) explicit. It’s also that way cognitively. The song’s words are the very ones at the core of the Kinks’ cynicism. They’re pretty art work about the abyss. In which case the Kinks have declined their old trick of making a statement inferring the abyss through – and by – the mere act of making that statement itself questionable.

Kinks Kontroversy is mainly a continuation of the radical decline of the repulsive and dialectically corresponding rise of the palatable move. But that implies much. At the same time it’s a holding and perfection operation. An eclectic warehouse. (Starring hard rock, r&b, blues, Bizarro blues and the wall of sound. Even a harmonica. And other things too.) And just the spot for the most cathedral and bell-like sounds in the history of the Kinks. Metaphysical cynicism – of the sad and weary variety – is one of the repetitious themes which are held and perfected. Even the titles are dead giveaways: “The World Keeps Going Round,” “Where Have All the Good Times Gone,” “I Am Free” (by Dave Davies). Identifying futility as a characteristic of the universe and showing just how much the abyss has to do with impotence. Making these songs among the saddest of all things ever. Another outstanding groove (less repetitious, more eclectic) is Kokomo Arnold’s “Milk Cow Blues.” Basically a Bizarro blues, it has amazing intervals which cause general consternation through their false intimation of the impending resolution of all too well known blues cliches. (In a conventional sense “Milk Cow Blues” does not make it.)

The latest singles and albums complete the decline of the repulsive. Mainly because they lack repulsive cuts. However this question of the Kinks’ repulsiveness – formerly preponderant enough to appear innate – is tough and knotty. Once repulsiveness, by itself, sufficed to make their sound unique. Then folks got used to it via repetition (indicating that what passes for the innate can be only unfamiliar). But meanwhile you know, deep down, that the currently familiar and ergo potentially palatable had once been immediately repulsive. Or at least until The Kinks’ Greatest Hits! Certainly one of the greatest of the greatest hits series, it proved uniformly palatable. Also charming. Familiarity (if only fleeting) with its numerous hits and hits-that-failed took out the possibilities for extraordinary repulsiveness. And nostalgia turned the formerly repulsive charming.

The Live Kinks (their eighth album!) ties them for the lead in greatest hits type albums with the Rolling Stones. Like the Stones’ Got Live If You Want It, it’s a collection of heavily beef-tongued versions of some all-time favorites. (Chestnuts.) Mostly done in the favored amphetamine rage style. There’s also an honest attempt made at reviving the now moribund bizarre with a medley of “Milk Cow Blues,” the “Batman Theme” and “Tired of Waiting for You.” Lasting for 8:30, it’s a true spectacular, with the interference effect working through three songs and complexity enough to blind the bull. Maybe this is the Kinks’ high point. Maybe. But there are people who would buy this album for the hysteria alone. As a strictly formalized (i.e. theatrical and determined) freak-out, it’s pretty hollow and not about to scare. The arrogance and hysteria are not only predictable and expected, they’re also – perfect. It was recorded in Scotland.

Face to Face came out of the boat, a vintage production, pretty well cured and aged by the “legal matters,” just the Kinks album to be found entirely (and right off the bat) palatable. All of the big Kinks themes were there: from metaphysical despair (“Fancy,” “Rainy Day in June,” “Sunny Afternoon,” “Too Much on My Mind”) to a new trend in the direction of an ever-increasingly brutal cynicism (“Dandy” – with snarling “Most Exclusive Residence for Sale” – with the best ever background Duck chorus, “Session Man,” “House in the Country,” “Little Miss Queen of Darkness”) to simplest sarcasm (“Party Line,” “Rosy Won’t You Please Come Home,” “House in Waikiki”). Explicitly expanding (for the first time) the interference effect to album-wide dimensions. (Maybe this is the Kinks’ high point.) Here everything is made questionable. And that does it for the Kinks. The Kinks have exchanged stable imaginative objects out of the bizarre (like the Doors do) for disconcerting things put into motion via interference. Metaphysical desperation, cynicism and sarcasm are then all mutually out-of-phase (interfering) positions. (With cynicism the most inclusive position of them all.) Positions which make possible the exposure of all possible subjects in every which way. (Cynicism is motion and cynicism is exposure.) Absolute positioning has taken its place with bicycle riding and science as a way of life. Shimmering, cynically disjointed objects – themselves the isomorph of the abyss because they are just as unimaginably unstable as the very abyss – are the Kinks’ meat.

Philosophically one can say only this: the Kinks are and have been very dynamic. (They breathe fire.)

(And everything that the fabulous Kinks ever did, that was ever available within this great country, is now available on variously obscure Reprise waxings. Incidentally, this is also the label of Frank Sinatra.)

Sandy Pearlman

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