FOUR YEARS LATER
For me, the albums that followed Muswell Hillbillies — Everybody’s in Showbiz, Preservation Act 1, Preservation Act 2, A Soap Opera — were all duds. For whatever reason, Ray Davies had distanced himself from his songs, either via writing strictly for characters or piling instrument after instrument between himself and his listeners.
It’s all signified by the cover of Preservation Act 1: The Kinks had tripled in size while losing 2/3 of their focus.
I’m sure there are gems on every one of them (I know there are on A Soap Opera, of all things) — including the one classic song from that period that some of you might be worried I’m skipping (which I’m not) — but my collective impression of them is that they’re overcluttered and shrill.