Dave Davies I Will Be Me Cleopatra/Purple Pyramid MusicSince suffering a major stroke in 2004 Dave Davies has engaged in a bit melancholy combined with a heavy dose of indignation. As well he should, as history continues to under write his contributions to The Kinks (second only to The Beatles in my pantheon of bands) while the welcome comeback of brother Ray grabs the headlines. As witnessed in the marvelous 2010 documentary Do It Again: One Man’s Quest to Reunite the Kinks Dave is no longer bitter.
He’s long since come to terms with Ray’s insecurities and while one can sense the sadness he feels over their severed relationship he’s resigned to accepting what is. Thus, I Will Be Me finds him in a more reflective mood, looking back through rose colored glasses at what was and might have been. He kicks off the album with "Little Green Amp," a strident rocker that combines several Kinks songs-primarily "All Day and All Of the Night” and "Destroyer"-into a four and a half minute history of the Kinks. It’s followed by the wistful “Living in the Past,” in which Dave sings of the pleasures and pitfalls of nostalgia, but moves to more tender and romantic territory with “The Actress” and “When I First Saw You.” The second of those is both a paean to his wife and a declaration of his longstanding (and public) belief in mysticism, inter-dimensional travel, and UFOs. Your appreciation of which will be entirely dependent on your own acceptance of such things-or at the least your ability to set skepticism aside-but there’s no denying the sincerity Dave brings to the table. He does have a tendency towards pedantic distraction and at time the healing nature of his intent and the intensity of his guitar playing-this is, after all, the guy who virtually invented heavy metal-doesn’t quite click. But there's a fierce determination to I Will Be Me helps balance its shortcomings. At age 66, grateful to still be among us, Dave Davies seems to have at last found some inner peace. ***1/2