The Kinks had just finished a tour of Asia when they were rushed into the studio to capitalize on the success of Kinks-Size and their growing popularity. Most of their new album, Kinda Kinks, was recorded within two weeks and released in March 1965 in the U.K. and August in the United States.
The rushed nature of the recording did not serve the album well. While ten of its 11 tracks were written by Ray Davies, very few can be considered above average with none ranking among the band’s more memorable material.
Another problem plaguing the album was its poor production. Many of the early Kinks releases had a raw sound that was well-served by primitive production techniques but the same can’t be said for this one and the overall quality of the listening experience suffers as a result. CD releases have cleaned the material up a bit but certainly not enough to consider it in pristine or even high-quality condition.
Kinda Kinks was not a complete failure, however. “Set Me Free,” which reached the American Top 30, features Dave Davies’ lead guitar in what would become the Kinks accustomed brand of rock ‘n’ roll. “Nothin’ In The World Can Stop Me Worryin’ ‘Bout That Girl” found Ray Davies delivering one of his earliest introspective compositions, a style he would return to many times in the years ahead.
Too many of the remaining songs lacked the quality of the band’s previous works and pale in comparison to the ones they’d record in the near future. A cover of the Motown classic “Dancing In The Street” mercifully and quickly fades as a minor footnote, for instance, while originals like “Look For Me Baby,” “Don’t Ever Change,” and “So Long” struggle just to be average.
Kinda Kinks remains a weak link in the band’s early discography. For those seeking the album today, an expanded CD release is best as it includes bonus material which in many cases is superior to what was contained on the original U.S. release.