Rolling Stone - 3/6/03, p.734 stars out of 5
- "...ARTHUR sounds like a quiet masterpiece....Davies' tunes are spilling over with ideas and melodies..."
Rolling Stone - 11/1/69, p.38
"...An incredible album, the band in their finest form, turning it in from start to finish...a masterpiece on every level: Ray Davies' finest hour, the Kinks' supreme achievement."
The Kinks: Ray Davies (vocals, guitar, piano); Dave Davies (vocals, guitar); John Dalton (bass); Mick Avory (drums).
Recorded at Pye Studios, London, England.
After the commercial failure of VILLAGE GREEN PRESERVATION SOCIETY, the Kinks could have gone one of two ways. They could have forgotten about making cohesive, "veddy British" albums and gone back to simply putting together album-length collections of unrelated songs. Or they could have moved from concept albums to full-fledged rock operas, full of third-person tunes that would enable Ray Davies to further distance himself from his audience.
They chose the latter, earning themselves a solid core of new fans along the way. The pleasure of ARTHUR is that, while it shows the Kinks' readiness to tackle the rock opera form, it retains a close connection with their more pop-oriented past. Opener "Victoria" remained a concert favorite for years afterwards, while the delicate "Shangri-La" likewise took on a life of its own outside the rock-opera format. Clearly, the group had more creativity at this point than it knew what to do with. ARTHUR is probably the only album that you could play for a fan of the pop Kinks and a fan of the theatrical Kinks and please both.