SACD & Other Hi-Res Reviews

The Kinks – Sleepwalker

One of 15 Kinks klassics remastered in SACD by Koch

Published on June 1, 2005

The Kinks – Sleepwalker

The Kinks – Sleepwalker; Koch Records VEL-SC-29810 Hybrid Stereo SACD ***1/2:

This is another one of 15 Kinks’ records that have been remastered and
distributed in the SACD format.  They are hybrid discs, so you can
enjoy them on any CD player.  Right at the time that the Kinks had
signed up with Arista Records in 1976, Ray Davies had began a change in
writing style towards concept records.  The record company was
expecting the band to produce records in the glam rock style that had
become popular and led them to sign people like Lou Reed and David
Bowie.  Needless to say, Arista was unhappy with the change and
relations were strained.  By the time this record came out in
1977, Davies and swung back to a more conventional rock format,
although the songs still tell stories and work under the theme of a
somnambulist.  

One of the differences that had an impact on the production and sound
of this record (versus the material before) was the fact that the band
began recording in their own studio.  This enabled them to take
control of the entire process and craft the songs as exactly as
desired.  The record is a mix of semi-hard rock tunes and slower,
melodic tunes with the infamous Kinks’ sound—the vocals are
unmistakable.  The disc insert, written by John Swenson, takes the
listener track by track and expands upon the meaning of the songs with
all sorts of background information.  The bonus tracks are this
record are a real treat and will make this album worthy of purchase for
any Kinks fan.  “Prince of The Punks” is a poke at the pseudo punk
rockers at the time of writing (who Davies apparently has quite
distaste for).  “The Poseur” is a great tune with odd, almost
macabre-sounding background music.

Recording quality is good, although it doesn’t come close to a newer,
high quality recording in terms of transparency.  It does lack
harshness and irritation even if it lacks the utmost in fidelity, so
it’s an easy listen.  I preferred the latter recording of “On The
Outside” in terms of sense of space and involvement.  Songs
included are:  Life On The Road; Mr. Big Man; Sleepwalker;
Brother; Juke Box Music; Sleepless Night; Stormy Sky; Full Moon; Life
Goes On.  Bonus Tracks:  Artificial Light; Prince Of The
Punks; The Poseur; On The Outside (1977 Mix); On The Outside (1994 Mix).

- Brian Bloom




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