I discovered The Zombies Odessey and Oracle a year or two ago and was blown away. Time of the Season has always been a favorite pop song of that era for me but this ridiculously obscure LP is full of moments (both dark and catchy) that surprised and captivated me from the first listen. How did the cagily upbeat wistful sadness of "Care of Cell 44" not get airplay?
While I generally appreciate the muscular power of the Kinks, I've never really liked Davies' voice (the nasally tone / pitch; his words are fine.) So, while I've heard TKATVPS and own a fair sampling of The Kinks' output from over the years, I'm not enough of a fan to really discuss that record intelligently. Basically, this is an endorsement of The Zombies OAO more than a dismissal of TKATVPS (though I definitely prefer the former.)
My curiosity about the Kinks stems from Howard Kaylan mentioning TKATVGPS being about when the Turtles convinced Davies to produce Turtle Soup. The Zombies have a great sound, and I recently read the Woodstalk comic that features them fighting zombies at Woodstock, so I got interested in listening to them again.
I find Village Green amazingly not what I think of when I think of the Kinks. Very engaging and peaceful, with the dreams of simpler times. OAO has a lot more variety, but the tunes really suck me in, starting with the Cell, which seems to me disturbingly joyful in sound for its melancholy subject matter. In other words, captivating!
Still not sure which I'm listening to more lately. I can't stop putting them on in the background every time I get the chance.
It's interesting you combine those two. Both were recorded in reportedly stressful times (the Zombies broke up even before OAO's release, the Kinks were fighting and unable to get out of the UK). Definitely agree TKATVGPS is unusual; a nostalgic, wistful concept album in the place of the customary power pop. Despite the initial commercial failure of both albums, each has grown in critical stature over the years.
The Zombies only had two albums so it's not surprising they're pretty forgotten but the Kinks were huge in their day and lasted decades longer yet I feel they're kind of forgotten now too. When I first started really listening to music in the late 70s / early 80s they were discussed in the same breath with The Who, Stones and Zeppelin but I don't think a lot of kids are even aware of them now beyond "Lola" and "You Really Got Me." At least "Picture Book" was used in a major national ad campaign a while back, so TKATVGPS does live on after a fashion.