Arista had made it clear they would not accept any concept albums from the Kinks, and Sleepwalker, their first effort for the label, makes good on the band's promise. Comprised entirely of glossy arena rockers and power ballads, the album is more of a stylistic exercise than a collection of first-rate songs. Ray Davies contributed a handful of fairly strong songs, highlighted by the exceptional "Juke Box Music," which sees him in a shockingly resigned frame of mind, claiming that rock & roll is just rock & roll, and nothing more. Unfortunately, he chose to illustrate that fact by loading the rest of Sleepwalker with competent but undistinguished mainstream rock. While that might have made the album a hit at the time, its processed sound and weak songs sound dated today, especially compared to the lively arena rock the Kinks later released.
by Stephen Thomas Erlewine