Randy Krbechek's Metronews
February 19, 1997
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
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
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
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, Freak Show
(Epic 1997) --
The youthful Australian trio that comprises Silverchair (the oldest member
is only 18) scored big with their first release, Frogstomp.
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").
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, 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.
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
(c) Randy Krbechek
David Anand Prasad with Idea Co.