The Kinks “Are The Village Green Preservation Society”

Village Green Preservation Society

A Hall of Fame record, a go-to standby, the Kinks’ magnum opus, and a lifelong friend. Village Green Preservation Society feels like an old vinyl record no matter how digital your copy. It’s light and fun, wistful and teary, a beautiful definition of nostalgia in the form of Ray Davies’ finest work.

VGPS followed the lovely Something Else by The Kinks and took its sound a step further, presenting a selection of songs loosely dedicated to a unified idea: preservation. Whether it be in personal reflection, a photograph, or the Village Green itself, Ray longs for another time in these songs. Do You Remember Walter says it nearly best: “people often change, but memories of people can remain.” The line gets me every time.

The instrumentation features a wonderful small orchestra of happy acoustic guitar, woody drums, cheery backing vocals, and a handsome lot of subtle instrumental highlights. The songs are playful and imaginative, eternally catchy. The Kinks firmly embraced their Englishness with this album, and it sure can make an American boy feel envy! Village Green, perhaps the least accessible but prettiest, features a real orchestral string backing and brandishes a lovely chorus with pizzicato violin decorations. Other woodwinds and strings ornamenting the album are whirred from the famous Mellotron keyboard (see Phenomenal Cat).

The fold-out digipak reissue of VGPS is a dream package with 2 discs full of extra content that will surely please, but Kinks kollectors probably have much of it from rarity discs. Get this record if you don’t have it, and if you already do, put it on. This is a masterpiece from one of rock’s finest groups.

One of my favorite tracks, old-fashioned but sweet:

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“All Of My Friends Were There”

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  • Terry

    Amen, Brother. A beautiful tribute to an incredible, timeless, and underappreciated album.

  • Leon

    Thanks heaps for your great review of this wonderful album, Bendan. You may want to know that u have now inspired me to order the CD of the album . I still have it on vinyl but not having had a turntable for over 20 years!!! Sometimes I fear listening to some of my fav old albums but you have now reminded me on just how good Ray Davies songs were on this album. Thanks again.

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