Word of Mouth - Arista 1984

Tracks: 1. Do It Again / 2. Word of Mouth / 3. Good Day / 4. Living on a Thin Line / 5. Sold Me Out / 6. Massive Reductions / 7. Guilty / 8. Too Hot / 9. Missing Persons / 10. Summer's Gone / 11. Going Solo / 12. Good Day [*] / 13. Summer's Gone [*]


"Word of Mouth", which is probably one of the most overlooked albums by the Kinks, was recorded at a very difficult time for the band. Both Ray and Dave were very much involved with their own solo projects - "Return to Waterloo" and "Chosen People" - and the band-members had personal disagreements which led the the firing of original drummer Mike Avory during the recordings. Surprisingly they managed to come up with one of their most satisfying albums of the 1980's.

First impression may be that the album comes close in feel and mood to their previous 3 albums; hard-rocking with more or less desillusioned lyrics, blended with a few beautiful / melodic ballads.

The opener, the single "Do it Again", shows the rocking side of the Kinks, but still melodic and clearly among the most viable of Kinks rockers of this period. "Summers Gone" belongs to the same category, perhaps even better. Great lyrics and vocals from Ray Davies. "Too Hot" is also great - perhaps a little too much like "Come Dancing" from their previous album.

The next single "Good Day" shows the softer side of the band. Catchy tune with dark desillusioned lyrics, clearly written at a time when the nuclear threat was very much present. Dave's "Living on a Thin Line" is more or less of the same theme. Slightly folkish tune, and one of Dave's strongest contributions to a Kinks album. His rocker "Gulity" is also a fine track.

3 songs come from Ray's "Return to Waterloo" soundtrack. The heartfelt "Missing Persons", and the extremely catchy "Going Solo" both describe the difficulties of accepting your children growing up to live their own lives. Both favourites of mine. "Sold Me Out" is as close to "punk" music as the Kinks ever came.

The title track and the re-recording of "Massive Reductions" are the weakest tracks on the album, both quite forgettable.

The two bonus-tracks are extended versions of "Good Day" and "Summer's Gone" - a typical feature of that period was to release maxi-singles with extended mixes of album tracks. I remember buying both "Good Day" and "Do it Again" as maxi-singles at the time - great covers, both shown in the booklet.

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