If it’s praise for “Apeman” that you seek, seek elsewhere, PAL, because I don’t have many kind things to say about a single that takes Ray Davies’ dead-horse themes of dislocation and escape and forces them into a cloying, dunderheaded novelty entirely lacking in wit. Sure, I can appreciate new-guy John Gosling, who continues to make his presence felt with a pronounced piano/keys oom-pah that adds extra weight to the music, but, as on “Lola,” what’s up with Ray’s “in-character” vocals? That weak, tip-toe style of enunciating that he employs is EXTREMELY irritating, not to mention mildly racist during his terrible “reggae-man” spoken bit. Lousy lyrics (“I’m an apeman, I’m an ape-apeman, oh I’m an apeman / I’m a King Kong man, I’m a voodoo man / Oh I’m an apeman”) compound the problem, making “Apeman” a record that hardly ranks among the finer moments from ol’ Ray, a guy who likes to fancy himself the thinking-fellow’s pop star. Pfft. Clunker though it is, feel free to flip the thing over and enjoy “Rats,” a typically serviceable Dave Davies rawker. While the Kinks aren’t quite capable of running with the Heavy crowd of the early ’70s, this one makes a noble, noisy go of it and actually ain’t half bad. We’ll never see eye to eye on the whole alien-visitation thing, but I think we can at least agree that you did a swell job here, Dave! Common ground, my friend.