The Kinks

Kinks EP [DVD]

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In America, so little of the Kinks was seen between 1966 and 1970, that any video clips are welcome, but that goes double for anything generated during the psychedelic period, which is nicely represented here. This reviewer can't say anything excessively harsh about a video compilation, albeit even one as short as this one, that opens with clips of "Mr. Pleasant" and "Waterloo Sunset" (both from 1967) -- there's Ray Davies strumming away on an acoustic guitar while a trombonist wanders across the stage on the former track, and Dave Davies does his best to look cool. "Plastic Man," from 1969, doesn't even have the members' instruments plugged in, but they're obviously having such fun that you can't help but love the clip. And then there's "Muswell Hillbilly," from 1972 -- a genuine live clip, in color, in which Ray Davies introduces the band members, gives a loving satiric nod to Johnny Cash, and turns in a delightful performance of the piece. For Kinks connoisseurs, that clip is almost worth the price of admission by itself, and grouped with the others, it all makes a wonderful 12 minutes of entertainment. The length is, as with the rest of this series, a little paltry, but the content here is so central to what the Kinks were about, that it's almost essential viewing -- at least as much as any of the early video clips off of Shindig etc., before the group really discovered what it was about, which have yet to surface on DVD, in any case. As with the rest of this DVD EP series, the menu is covered by annoying generic music, the clips have to be accessed manually, one at a time, and the pop-up function is hopelessly flaccid, not so much popping as oozing slowly around perfectly good performance clips; and there's more attention paid on the disc to promoting other releases than there is material devoted to the clips at hand.