Ray Davies: Working Man's Cafe

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Ray Davies: Working Man's Cafe

Kinks songwriter's second solo album continues to pack the anecdotal charm

Ray Davies once pined for the way love used to be and now writes us from the Internet Café, where he’s unsure why anyone’s asking him questions in the first place. Maybe it’s because this Kink has finally found—after decades in creative limbo—the Kronikling voice that made him an astonishing songwriter in the 1960s. It took five decades for Davies to start a solo career, and now Other People’s Lives and this within two years? “One More Time” rings true with defiant nostalgia and timely sociopolitical concerns. “Vietnam Cowboys” reconciles the effects of globalization. “In A Moment” treasures a sure-shot pop hook. Producer Ray Kennedy delivers the tough, guitar/keyboard/ bass/drum sound you’d expect, with no gratuitous nods toward alt.country. Electric guitars crank for “Peace In Our Time” and arpeggiate for “Imaginary Man.” Horns add punch to “Morphine Song,” in which Davies recounts his time in intensive care after being shot in New Orleans. Welcome back, old friend.

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