I think, and I am sure I am not alone, that The Kinks seriously rival The Beatles as the most important and influential of any British band. I think in some respects they outclass the Liverpudlians — there is definitely less twee involved in the music. When twee is present it feels like it is done in a more knowing manner whereas with The Beatles it is easy to believe that twee is just part of their make-up … I mean look at some of McCartney’s solo offerings. The best of that I bought hasn’t got a weak track on it and if there is one place where you are likely to find chart friendly filler it is on a best of. Days is a lesson in how to do nostalgia, Waterloo Sunset is one of the least sappy love songs ever. Dedicated Follower Of Fashion demonstrates a sense of humour. The Kinks rock out, they have slow numbers, and like most great bands the music sounds like it could have been produced any time between it’s release date and now. Shit, it could be released two years from now and it is still likely that it would be lyrically and harmonically ahead of the pack of retro fetishists we seem saddled with for rock musicians. There are few mainstream bands that are as adventurous anymore. Radiohead are; R.E.M are interested in reinvention; U2 swim out of the stodge every so often. Could The Kinks emerge now, or are they uniquely of their time? Man, Ray Davies seriously deserves more respect, as does his brother. The Beatles could maybe do with a bit more of a critical eye leveled at them. When people talk about the flaws of that group it tends to be at the remove of the member’s solo careers when there were some follies they embarked on as a group to. Not to suggest that everything Ray Davies et al produced was perfect, who can claim that? But they consistently produced innovative and interesting albums that weren’t attempting to be innovative and interesting for the sake of it.