Ray Davies

Thanksgiving Day

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The Thanksgiving Day EP -- released two days before Thanksgiving Day 2005 -- is a teaser for Ray Davies' forthcoming album, Other People's Lives, which is not only his first proper solo album, but his first collection of new songs in nearly 13 years. Based on this EP, Davies is in fine form and may indeed be on the verge of delivering a full-fledged comeback. The title track is a surprising bit of laid-back Stax soul, spiked with a few of his signature English eccentricities in the form of an over-the-top backing chorus and wry observations. While "Yours Truly Confused N10" has a brass arrangement that's a shade too brassy, it's a clever bit of social satire, and if the moody "London Song" is a bit too splashy and theatrical in its production, Davies' spoken verses are evocative (more so than the exaggerated backing vocals), and the gentle country-rock of "Storyteller" makes up for any of its excesses. "London Song" may prevent Thanksgiving Day from being a flat-out, undeniable success, but the rest of this EP shows Davies regaining his strength as a writer and record-maker. Once it's finished, it's hard not to want to hear more, so this teaser does its job very well indeed.

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