The Kinks

BANDS THAT SOUND LIKE THE KINKS. A list of bands that might possibly be more famous, more well-known than The Kinks. BUT probably owe their success, nay, even their very existence to the brilliance of The Kinks.

BANDS THAT SOUND LIKE THE KINKS. This is a logical successor to THE BEST KINKS SONGS OF ALL TIME article that I recently posted and (thankfully) appeared to resonate with like-minded music enthusiasts. Then I even discovered that the current ‘it girl’ the delightful Anya Taylor-Joy (of The Queen’s Gambit fame) is obsessed with The Kinks. I heard her say those exact words in an interview!

So I sincerely hope that BANDS THAT SOUND LIKE THE KINKS shine a little light on Ray Davies & co AND their wonderful acolytes. Musicians, artists and songwriters who may not be so hip and cool as the latest face-tatted rapper but if you give them half a chance will capture your heart, soul and mind.

(Drum roll) BANDS THAT SOUND LIKE THE KINKS. In alphabetical order.

Blur – “Country House”

One might argue – decisively – that the Britpop movement of the nineties owed its biggest debt to The Kinks, the quintessential British band of them all. The standard bearers for this musical flag-waving exercise were of course, Blur! This #1 hit is a direct descendent of The Kinks’ own “A House in the Country” off the classic Face to Face album.

The Diggers – “Circles”

A late 90s Scottish band that probably missed the Britpop boat by the time they released their debut album Mount Everest in 1997. “Circles” notable for its heavy recall of The Kinks’ mid-60s classic “Sunny Afternoon”.

The Jam – “The Planner’s Dream Goes Wrong”

The Jam leader Paul Weller never hid his love for The Kinks. The observational tone of his songwriting bore all the hallmarks of Ray Davies’ considerable influence. I chose to include the under-rated “The Planner’s Dream Goes Wrong” (off The Gift album) as it reminded me of The Kinks’ own calypso-inflected “Come Dancing”. Perhaps the vaudevillian elements were too alienating for the rockist crowd? Who knows??

The La’s – “Son of a Gun”

Reminded me very much of The Kinks’ two chord (effectively V, IV, V, IV) approach of songs like “Tired of Waiting for You” and “Where Have All the Good Times Go”. Some might argue that it’s a classic rock trope but let’s recognise the origins, shall we?

Madness – “Grey Day”

Sure, Madness as a band is mainly known for its ska-pop agenda but the subject matter was positively Kinks-ian in attitude. Rise and Fall was a song about the hard times UK was experiencing during the Thatcher years and “Grey Day” epitomised that mood completely.

Queen – “Lazing on a Sunday Afternoon”

From its musical hall roots to its lifting of lyrics off “Sunny Afternoon”, the Kinks inspiration cannot be under-stated whatsoever. Again, one might attribute the influence to Queen’s pervading sense of eclecticism and absorbing classic rock styles like a sponge but once more, credit where it’s due!

Sugarplastic – “Arizona”

Astute listeners may point out how XTC is probably a bigger influence over Sugarplastic’s music. But then again, The Kinks play a huge part in XTC’s own musical process. So in a sense, The Kinks are grandfathers to the Sugarplastic sound. Same logic applies here as for The La’s entry above.

Supergrass – “Mansize Rooster”

Another obvious Britpop-era entry, the strong music hall vibe – filtered through a punk sensibility – makes Supergrass a superb example of a creative band taking the Kinks fundamentals and making it their own. Truly brilliant!

Syd Barrett – “Gigolo Aunt”

Perhaps an unusual choice as Barrett’s Pink Floyd is probably too closely associated with psychedelic rock to be considered an acolyte of The Kinks’ realist rock agenda. But notwithstanding the non-sequitur stream-of-consciousness lyrical style of “Gigolo Aunt”, the music hall elements are unmistakably of The Kinks’ own oeuvre.

XTC – “The Everyday Story of Smalltown”

Ray Davies is obviously one of XTC’s Andy Partridge’s favourite songwriters – the latter has name-checked the former several times but this ode to the English small town (off The Big Express) probably gets closest to The Kinks.

The Crowd – “Pasir Ris Sunrise”

Permit me this indulgence as I include my own little tribute to The Kinks’ “Waterloo Sunset” with “Pasir Ris Sunrise”, the song recounting a similar encounter with transportation systems but not quite as romantic as the superior piece. Thanks again to Ray Davies for the inspiration!

Of course, BANDS THAT SOUND LIKE THE KINKS is only the beginning of the journey of discovery if you would only dig deeper. Enjoy!

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