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Music Reviews

Randy's Buttons


February 19, 1997
Gettin' Kinky
  kinks
Kinks, To The Bone (Guardian 1996) - With a career spanning more than three decades, the Kinks' place in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (they were inducted in 1990) is well deserved.

To The Bone is a double-disc set featuring 27 newly-recorded live renditions of classic Kinks' cuts, ranging from scaled-down acoustic readings to full-on electric performances.

The album was primarily recorded at the Kinks' own Konk Studio in England before a handful of fans and friends, and mixes electric with unplugged performances. The sessions include Ray Davies on guitar and lead vocals, brother Dave Davies on lead guitar and backing vocals, Jim Rodford on base and backing vocals, kinkskinks Bob Henrit on drums, and Ian Gibbons on keyboards and backing vocals.

The album features all of the Kinks' favorites, from older hits like "Lola" and "You Really Got Me," to newer favorites like "Come Dancing." Also featured are two newly-penned songs ("Animal" and "To The Bone"), together with lesser-known gems such as "Celluloid Heroes" and "Set Me Free."

Says spokesman Ray Davies, "I make no excuses for the live concert tracks being cut in and out of the more un-plugged sessions. I think this gives the record an edge. It's also very characteristic of the Kinks. Just when you think you're comfortable and slurp into an easy listening mode, they snap back in live concert so that you have to sit up and take notice."

Adds Ray Davies, "To The Bone is probably the closest the Kinks will ever get to a box set. There has never been such a broad spectrum of Kinks' songs on one release before, and there's lots of songs on it that people consider to be my best work, so it's a very emotional album for me."

To The Bone compares favorably with Paul McCartney's solo live album, Back In The U.S.S.R. Both feature mature artists, comfortable in their stature, who find new life in older gems. I didn't expect to like To The Bone, but it really grew on me.
 
Silverchair Silverchair, Freak Show (Epic 1997) -- The youthful Australian trio that comprises Silverchair (the oldest member is only 18) scored big with their first release, Frogstomp.

Silverchair To tell the truth, I think Silverchair are proto-grunge, Nirvana wannabes. Which is to say, I'm not in love with the band's music or message (such as "Freak," which boasts the memorable line, "No more maybes/Your babies got rabies/Sitting on a ball/In the middle of the Andes").Silverchair

But I really like the CD-Rom section on Freak Show. Much like a carnival side-show (complete with a barker), the Macromedia-enhanced portion features multiple "attractions" (for example, a fire-eating man and an escape artist) built around the band and its music. The animation work is simple but effective, and the program works flawlessly.

CD-Rom enhanced discs like Freak Show are the way of the future. Album covers are dead; the new artwork will be based on computer graphics. And Freak Show tells me that we're going to have a lot of fun with CDs in the next few years.

 
Kqumba Zoo
Kqumba Zoo, Wake Up And Dream (Arista 1996) - The trio that comprises Kqumba Zoo is a platinum act in their native South Africa. Considering the strengths of Wake Up And Dream, the group could successfully crossover if found by fans of Deep Forest.

Kqumba Zoo consists of lead singer/lyricist Levannah, studio wiz and multi-instrumentalist Owl, and dancer/sculptor Teziki. Together for just two years, Kqumba Zoo reflects the extremes of their homeland, as Levannah sports blue lipstick and a shaved head, save for a pointed patch of hair in the middle of her scalp festooned with glittering stars, half moons, and rotating eyeballs. Levannah's sensuous croon often bypasses English to partake of her own self-dubbed "Universal" esperanto, giving the band a dreamy, cross-cultural sound. Zoo

It would be an understatement to call the appearance of Kqumba Zoo arresting. But their music is global, as reflected in such songs as "Happy Earthday" and "Flesh and Blood," which pick up where Midnight Oil left off. Go for the gusto, listen to Wake Up And Dream.


-- Randy Krbechek
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