DVD Review: The Kinks EP – Twelve Minutes is Not Representative of This Band

In the years I spent working the third shift, I spent a lot of time watching DVDs when it would inevitably get quiet. The DVDs I got from Netflix kept me sane, and gave me a lot of viewing – and writing – material.

The Kinks were a band out of England in the mid-1960s which essentially rounded out the big four of the British invasion. Although they didn’t get the notoriety of The Beatles or The Rolling Stones, they churned out a significant number of albums in a short period of time from 1964 to 1967 and cemented their place as one of the legendary performers of rock.

When I saw this DVD, I was hoping for some terrific early performances by The Kinks. That is here. The problem is that it is only four performances and three out of four are lesser-known sons from their repertoire. These performances by The Kinks came from tapes for the television show Beat Club.

Songs included here are Mr. Pleasant (1967), Plastic Man (1969), Waterloo Sunset (1967), Muswell Hillbilly (1972). Being a fan of the band, I was fairly familiar with the songs before watching the DVD. For people who haven’t seen or heard much about the band, this is not the place to start. What is here is really a poor selection of songs to represent the band.

I also was not impressed with the transfer. It’s pretty bad. Many times the footage appears blurry and it definitely hadn’t been digitally restored. The only positive is the sound, which seemed pretty good, although even that is muddy at times. That is especially surprising for DTS sound, which is indicative that the production company could have done a much better job.

Only Muswell Hillbilly is in color. The rest of the footage is strictly black and white. That’s not necessarily a bad thing, but The Twilight Zone footage I’ve seen from the era has been transferred to DVD much better so I know the problem is in the production. Muswell Hillbilly has a bit more effects as there are abstracts in the back of the band and of the band themselves while they are performing.

The way the disc is set up can be a pain as well. There is no option to PLAY ALL and I had to keep going back in and selecting each song to play. Not a huge problem with only four songs, but that should have been a no-brainer.

There is a Pop-Up feature that is pretty interesting. Not quite what it was on VH1, but facts about the band appear on the screen while the videos are playing. Of course, there’s never a pop-up that says “The two brothers at the heart of The Kinks have been at each other’s throats throughout their history”. The pop-ups also talk about a lot of other songs by The Kinks, such as Lola, and go off onto tangents such as the relationship between Ray Davies and Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. Obviously, there was not enough material to “pop up” on just these four songs.

The Previews section on disc features clips of other artists performing their own songs, such as Rod Stewart performing Tonight’s the Night. I’m not quite sure what exactly it’s previewing, though.

For twelve minutes of music by such a legendary band, this is definitely not worth it. The songs could have been chosen better, and the DVD should have been produced better. A complete disappointment and not worth the time it took clogging up my queue at Netflix. Now you can find them on YouTube with much better quality.

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