- Associated Press - Friday, June 29, 2018

Ray Davies, “Our Country: Americana Act II” (Sony Legacy)

Like most sequels, Ray Davies‘ “Our Country: Americana Act II” doesn’t live up to the original.

The Kinks co-founder’s latest effort is a follow-up to last year’s “Americana,” a standout record that marked his first solo effort of original material in nearly a decade. But instead of a sequel taking things in a new direction, the 19-track “Americana Act II” feels more like a rehash with material that’s not as strong as the original.

Part of the problem is that Davies follows the same format as “Americana”: new songs mixed with spoken word excerpts from his 2013 memoir and reinterpretations of old tunes like “Oklahoma U.S.A.” from the Kinks’ seminal 1971 album, “Muswell Hillbillies.”

Where the approach felt fresh on “Americana,” this time around it just feels like a retread.

On both records, Davies explores his journey through America. It’s a fascinating story, to be sure, and the American alt-country band from Minnesota, the Jayhawks, once again provide exceptional backing for the distinctly British Davies.

Let’s hope the next time Davies is in a less nostalgic mood, just like he sings in the last verse of the last song on “Americana Act II”: “Don’t do it again.”

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