The Kinks frontman’s first album of new material in a decade draws on his 2013 memoir, taking as its theme the huge part the United States has played in his life. It’s no sentimental journey. The opening title track may be bathed in a warm country glow, but The Invaders recalls the hostile reception the band drew there in the mid-60s (they were banned from performing by the American Federation of Musicians for four years); and if The Deal is wide-eyed at the outset, it’s cynical by the end. In Poetry – which borrows back from Steve Harley some of what he in part purloined from Davies – the American dream is exposed in all its emptiness. There’s love and awe too, and a great deal of musing about touring and the trouble it causes. Country-rocking backing band the Jayhawks are on top form, and the duet with Karen Grotberg, A Place in Your Heart, is affecting. The cod-Native American field holler of Change for Change and the shuffling, jazzy I’ve Heard That Beat Before are highlights.
Molloy Woodcraft is a subeditor for the Guardian