Rolling Stone - p.703 stars out of 5
-- "[H]e turns out loose melodies amid nimble bar-band grooves..."
Entertainment Weekly - p.97
"[With] a cache of Kinks-worthy melodies...[including] the gorgeous 'The Real World,' and 'You're Asking Me,' which could almost be a lost tune from the late '60s."
Blender (Magazine) - p.973 stars out of 5
-- "When it comes to writing beautiful, wistfully nostalgic tunes, no one can top former Kinks frontman Ray Davies."
Harp (magazine) (p.93) - "WORKING MAN'S CAFE is sharper and more direct, a reaching back to Davies' most biting social commentary and the pointed wit of prime Kinks days."
Paste (magazine) (p.71) - 3.5 stars out of 5
-- "Electric guitars crank for 'Peace In Our Time' and arpeggiate for 'Imaginary Man.' Horns add punch to 'Morphine Song.'"
Personnel: Ray Davies (vocals, acoustic guitar, keyboards, background vocals); Pat Buchanan (guitars); Craig Young (bass guitar); Shannon Otis Forrest (drums); Karin Forsman (background vocals); Ray Kennedy.
The Kinks stopped being a working band in 1996, but it still took frontman Ray Davies another decade to release his first proper solo album. The follow-up, WORKING MAN'S CAFE, came along a relatively speedy two years later. Those who are familiar with latter-day Kinks recordings will recognize a sonic thread here, but while there are some moments that lean toward harder-edged rock, WORKING MAN'S CAFE is ultimately a singer-songwriter album, with the highly melodic, elegantly crafted tunes serving the intentions of Davies's lyrics.
As has been the case since the '60s, Davies focuses his attention on sociopolitical themes, delving into both the political and sociological aspects of modern life. He alternately laments one man's inability to affect global politics ("Listen to Me") and rails eloquently against the misdirection of international economic practices ("Vietnam Cowboys"). Of course, this being the man who wrote "Waterloo Sunset" and "Days," those concerns are couched in musical frameworks so appealing that they taste like candy going down.