Sleepwalker Hybrid SACD - DSD, Super Audio CD - DSD
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In 1977, the Kinks once again became a straight rock band. Dave Davies got a chance to be a guitar hero. And, improbably, the band engineered another comeback, becoming arena rockers. Sleepwalker was a minor hit, but it propelled the band back into the limelight.
The follow-up, "Misfits", produced a huge hit (Rock and Roll Fantasy) and sold better, but "Sleepwalker" is the best LP of the Kinks' Arista years. There's not a false note on the nine tracks (although "Brother" is just a trifle slow for my taste). The rollicking self-satire of "Life on the Road" leads into the heart-breaking, beautifully written "Mr. Big Man", then to the lush and bizarre title cut. Every track sparkles with Ray Davies's brilliant lyrics and wry, knowing wit. Having dispensed with the elaborate horn arrangements of their koncept period, the band brings the attention back to the core of rock music: good songs.
These are songs you can dance to, sing along with, hum, and dream to. Great guitar playing by Dave, too! Very highly recommended.
At any rate it's a very inspired album and along with "State of Confusion" the strongest and most consistent Arista album. Davies' songwriting is varied and at his very best. Dave Davies? guitar-playing is terrific and it gives edge to the music. It's hard to bring out any specific tracks, because all are great. Personal favourites were always the classic Kinks-type of songs like "Full Moon" and "Stormy Sky", but Dave great guitar on "Mr Big Man" makes the song another favourite. A little Steve Miller inspiration on the title track??
Moreover the added bonus-tracks are also fine. Two decent B-sides "Artificial Light" ( sounds like a "Misfits" song ) and "Prince of the Punks" are fine for fans/completists, but the two outtakes are really great additions. "The Poseur" was originally thought to be the title-track, but it was eventually dropped with the change of the album title. Even more strange is it that they decided to leave out the outstanding "On the Outside", which would have been another highlight on the original album. Now it finally gets it's deserved release - classical Kinks!!
A milestone in Kinks History!
You've probably read about how Arista Records wasn't going to accept any "Preservation"/ "Soap Opera"-style concept albums from the Kinks. However, in characteristic Ray Davies fashion, he wanted to have his cake and eat it too, so he devised "Sleepwalker" as a loosely thematic album about sleeplessness/ restlessness, a theme which can be detected just by glancing at some of the song titles such as the title track, "Sleepless Night", and "Full Moon".
And this is a really solid, satisfying album. Although these years on Arista Records also tend to be referred to as the Kinks' "arena rock" years, "arena rock" really is not an accurate description for the music on this album. Granted, the group does rock out pretty hard on many of the songs here, but the group demonstrated that they hadn't entirely forgotten the concept of rocking out on the previous album "Schoolboys In Disgrace", and "Sleepwalker" is hardly a move toward Kiss-style territory.
As usual, Ray has sole writing credit for all the tracks on the album. And there are a bunch of great ones. "Mr. Big Man" is a raging rocker about a person who acheives fame and then proceeds to blow off the people who helped him get there.Read more ›
Amazon's product info on this disc says an SACD player is required. That's not quite true, this is a dual-layer CD/SACD "hybrid", and you can play it on any standard CD player as well as SACD. Whether you would want to is another question...the sound is screechy, scratchy and tinny, like a low-quality MP3. I can't speak to the SACD layer, as I don't have an SACD player, but the CD part has been subjected to the worst excesses of "loudness war" remastering practices. The music has been compressed, limited and EQ'd to within an inch of its life. There's audible clipping distortion, and the dynamics and tonal balance are noticeably skewed. I don't know if there's a better disc out there, but this one sounds terrible. Shame, I like The Kinks quite a bit, and the music deserves better.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
With the Kinks moving from RCA to Arista, they decided to go back to more straightforward rock sounds and jettison the ambitious concept albums. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Michael Snider
Vastly underrated! One of my favorite records from the seventies. Sounds just as good today!Published 13 months ago by Don Clay
You have to give this album 5 stars!! If you are a kinks fan you have to love this album that contains classic kinks music!!Published on June 30, 2013 by robert ogrosky
Some Kinks fans might debate this, but I've always felt that "Sleepwalker" ranks as one of their greatest albums, right up there with "Face To Face", "Something... Read morePublished on June 9, 2013 by Stuart Wenger
This album brought back great memories of my childhood. All of the songs are classic and Ray Davies is an outstanding songwriter. Highly recommend.Published on May 21, 2013 by Lisa I.
I would not have bought this , but my cassette tape got thrown away by accident ! Obviously the CD sounds better . Good tunes .Published on November 22, 2011 by Immehta1