The Kinks became stars in the United States during late 1964 with their influential hit “You Really Got Me.” Their label (Reprise) wanted to capitalize on that commercial success as quickly as possible and so gathered together some extra tracks from their self-titled British debut album, all four songs from their U.K. Kinksize Session EP release, plus two hit singles, to release the United States-only album, Kinks-Size.
Despite the haphazard assembling of the material, it was overall a more solid release than their debut, which in America was called You Really Got Me. The number of cover songs was significantly reduced, as Ray Davies was the composer of all but two of the tracks.
The album’s strengths were the two hit singles which bookended the original vinyl release: “Tired Of Waiting For You” and “All Day And All Of The Night.” The first had a harder edge than any of their previous tracks, except the aforementioned “You Really Got Me.” “All Day And All Of The Night” was a complicated song built around several power chords. It was a subtle rock song that did not overpower but still provided a satisfying listen. The rumors that Jimmy Page had provided the guitar work proved false, as it was all Dave Davies. Page’s signature 12-string style was “possibly” heard, however, on “I Gotta Move.”
There were a number of other very solid tracks. Songs such as “Come On Now,” “Revenge,” and “Things Are Getting Better” showed (Ray) Davies’ improving songwriting talents.
The only two misses were the cover songs. “I’m A Lover Not A Fighter” (J.D. Miller) just limps home. Their interpretation of the old frat-rock classic “Louie, Louie” (Richard Berry) was misplaced, as the band just could not pull it off.
Kinks-Size may not have been a great album but it was a good and very representative one, as it caught The Kinks as an evolving rock band. The two singles remain an essential listening experience and most of the rest will not disappoint.