Face to Face: The Kinks
  • Face to Face: The Kinks

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Face to Face is the fourth studio album by the English rock band the Kinks, released in October 1966. The album marked a shift from the hard-driving style of beat music that had catapulted the group to international acclaim in 1964. It is their first album consisting entirely of Ray Davies compositions, and has also been regarded by critics as rock's first concept album. The album was included in Robert Christgau's "Basic Record Library" of 1950s and 1960s recordings, published in Christgau's Record Guide: Rock Albums of the Seventies.

Ray Davies suffered a nervous breakdown just prior to the major recording sessions for the album. In contrast to the band's earlier "raunchy" sound, he had started to introduce a new, softer style of writing the previous year with compositions such as "A Well Respected Man" and "Dedicated Follower of Fashion". In July 1966, the single "Sunny Afternoon", also written in that style, reached No. 1 in the UK Singles Chart, and the song's popularity proved to Davies and the Kinks' managers that the group could find success with this style of songwriting. The new album would follow this pattern, as would the group's recorded output for the next five years. The 1966–71 period inaugurated by this album would later be called Davies' and the Kinks' "golden age".

Rock historians have credited the album as arguably one of the first rock/pop concept albums, with the loose common theme of social observation.[1][6] In the album's original conception Ray Davies attempted to bridge the songs together with sound effects, but he was forced by Pye Records to revert to the more standard album format before the album's release. Some effects remain, such as in "Party Line", "Holiday in Waikiki", "Rainy Day in June" and in songs not included on the final album ("End of the Season", "Big Black Smoke").

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