December 6, 2001

Test Spins: Tribute to the Kinks

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Although The Kinks are probably best known as the godfathers of punk, this label does little to describe the eclectic styles they employed over the bulk of their career. Even when the band did dish out distorted riffs in “You Really Got Me,” they never let raw energy grow to the point that it overtook the song’s melody. The majority of bands giving tribute to The Kinks in “Give the People What We Want” seem either ignorant of this fact or wholly intent on disregarding it.

It is understandable that these bands (almost all of whom are totally unknown to me) would want to add their own personal touches to Kinks classics, but some of these covers are downright blasphemous. The Murder City Devils’ atonal bellowing on “Alcohol” and C Average’s amateurish drum-beating for “Revenge” do insult to the original songs. The most enjoyable track is Model Rocket’s “Ring the Bells,” which adds harmonious vocals to textured guitars without drifting into sentimentality.

Still, a single heart-felt anthem can’t dull the claws of this beastly tribute.

Archived article by Patrick Douglass