"RETURN TO WATERLOO," credited to Ray Davies, is actually a Kinks album. All the Kinks perform on it except for Ray's brother, Dave, known for his sonic-boom guitar riffs.
Without brother Dave, Ray is able to play on his own British music hall sensibilities, offering tuneful musical monologues that evoke sentiment on one song and mock such feelings on the next. Ray Davies is the best of his generation at this tradition, and his yearning harmonies fit his theme of people and opportunities that have slipped away.
The album's eight songs are the soundtrack to an hour-long British TV show (written and directed by Davies) about the thoughts of a middle-aged executive as he rides a commuter train into London. Fortunately, the numbers can stand on their own (three of the best were included on last year's Kinks album, "Word of Mouth").
"Going Solo" draws a witty analogy between bands breaking up and families breaking up; Davies' sympathies go to the bandleaders and parents who get left behind. "Not Far Away" is an ironically bouncy folk- rock tune about ever-elusive goals.
RAY DAVIES/THE KINKS -- "Return to Waterloo" (Arista AL6-8386); The Kinks, with both Ray and Dave Davies, appear Saturday at Merriweather Post Pavilion with Donny and the Rocks.