Look, I'm biased. You can find my writings on The Kinks online. They are my favorite band.
Anyway, this album seems to have a bad rap as being the retarded stepchild of their discography, like The Beatles 'Yellow Submarine' (the half Beatles/half George Martin LP, not the 1999 songtrack) or Neil Young's forgotten-unless-you-bought-the-archives-box 'Journey Through The Past'. Granted, it wasn't released in the US, and by all accounts from Ray, Dave, and others the film 'Percy' itself is quite forgettable. So, no, this album doesn't have much going for it from the get-go. (Ugh, and don't get me started on that garish cover!)
But it's a gem. Recorded back-to-back with the 'Lola' album (one of my personal favorites), this record follows the same musical vein of hard rockers, a heavy dash of country (things to come with 'Muswell Hillbillies'), and some beautiful ballads. Throughout - it IS a film soundtrack - are instrumental numbers. Yes, some are more interesting than others.
The instrumental version of "Lola," with its melody hammered out on the organ, is given a nice thumping rock treatment, heavier than the lyrical version musically. "Dreams" is a rollicking little fantasy number, complete with a great Dave Davies riff. "Animals In The Zoo" is a funky little number, a variation on "Apeman" I find superior.
As far as the score tunes go, they're good musically, but given they came from the pen that brought us "Waterloo Sunset" and "Shangri-La" it's almost irritating to not hear this pleasant melodies fleshed out with lyrics. The only one that really doesn't do much for me is "Completely," a slow bluesy piece.
The rock 'n roll tunes here are great, but Ray, Dave, Mick, and the Johns dominate on the ballads. "God's Children," the de facto theme song for the film (which is a comedy about a penis transplant - sounds like a riot...) is a pretty tune apparently protesting organ transplants. "The Way Love Used To Be" is a nice acoustic moody song. "Just Friends" starts off like a lullaby - played on a celeste - but creeps along, in one of Ray's most humorous performances...and then there's "Moments," my own nominee for Ray's forgotten masterpiece. Beautiful.
Now, where to put "Willesden Green." It's a country and western number - think "Scrapheap City" if you know your Kinks, otherwise think countrified Elvis channeling Johnny Cash - sung by bassist John Dalton. It's a great song, funny due to its sheer incongruity.
Give this album a chance. You won't be disappointed.