Sometimes I’m not sure how much thought and effort The Kinks put into their Think Visual album. They had just signed with the MCA Label and so, for better or worse, had to produce an album. What emerged was an average release, saved somewhat by several good songs.
The Kinks had been cranking out albums with a great deal of regularity for almost a quarter century, and the creative well may have been a little dry at this point in time. They were also trying to update their sound to make their music commercially appealing during the second half of the 1980s and seemed to have gotten a little stuck between eras.
The rock was a little lighter than most of their recent releases. The music did not have a cohesive feel, which was not helped by the varying quality of the material.
The Dave Davies creations traveled in separate directions. “Rock ‘n” Roll Cities” was a personal lyrical journey I did not want to take very often as it just dragged along. On the other hand, I found “Wish You Were A Child” charming and poignant.
The Ray Davies material was a mixed bag. The best of the lot was “Lost And Found,” which was a classic love ballad. It had drama, beauty, and a melodic nature and remains one of those somewhat forgotten but brilliant songs that Ray Davies would issue every now and then.
“Working At The Factory” was the album’s first track and found Davies on familiar ground as he criticized the music industry within a rock setting. “The Video Shop” was Davies looking at the ordinary and making it interesting. Today, given the topic, it is quaint and nostalgic. The title track was another critical look at the industry and, while he had traveled this particular road often, the guitar work by brother Dave made the track palatable.
Think Visual was not a brilliant but a middling effort by The Kinks. No doubt some aficionados of the band will consider it a worthy release, but if you want to explore their music, there are a lot of better and more creative albums that deserve your attention. In the final analysis, despite several good songs, it was a workmanlike album that is only for the hard core fan.