Ray Davies

Other People's Lives (V2)

SXSW Records

Ray Davies

Other People's Lives (V2)

They say musicians have their whole lives to make their first album. Since the Kinks' last notable shout-out remains 1984's Word of Mouth, Ray Davies' solo debut unfolds like the diary of a 21-year-old still searching for his identity. "I joined the Kinks before I was a completely formed adult," writes Davies in Other People's Lives. "Now I am a single artist; the jump from childhood to adulthood has suddenly occurred and I still don't know who I am." Business as usual for rock & roll's William Blake, now 61. Even while trying to "escape" his storied catalog, the Kinks' visionary has inadvertently divided his societal and autobiographical observations into the haves and have-nots. "Next Door Neighbor," pure Kinks in its pastoral lilt, like the dreamy "Creatures of Little Faith," whose smoldering cadence plays like a distant cousin to the "Art Lover" from 1981's Give the People What They Want, could only have been painted by one musician. "Lola" guitar on the supremely amusing "Is There Life After Breakfast?" and the jaunty, almost offhand title track are also Something Else. "Stand Up Comic" Blurs, while "Thanksgiving Day" closes with another treat, released last fall on the lively Thanksgiving Day EP. Lesser Lives include "The Getaway (Lonesome Train)" and "Over My Head," the album only hitting its stride midway through, but then again, one prays Ray Davies is only getting started – four decades after helping birth other people's rock & roll realities. (Friday, March 17, 5-6:30pm @ the Austin Convention Center, Room 12)

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