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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Dug Pinnick

Naked

Review by Scott Prinzing

I was so anxious for this album's release that I actually downloaded a copy (legally, of course!) before waiting for it to appear in my local record store (it still hasn't shown up).  As a result, when I first listened to this it was a copy without liner notes or printed lyrics.  That is usually pretty annoying for this old school record collector, but it probably  caused me to listen that much closer to hear what Dug Pinnick is singing.  Fortunately, he is very easy to understand.  What made it even more challenging than usual is that the song titles and audio seem to have been jumbled in cyberspace, leading me to try and match the correct lyric to the song title.  Fortunately, it wasn’t very difficult to match up the proper song titles

So much has been written about King's X, so I'll just go on record that they are my favorite band.  All three members are amazingly talented and have now outnumbered King's X releases with solo albums and side projects.  For my money, we are served well by that strategy, as while the whole may be greater than the sum of King's x' parts, those parts are more rewarding than many-a-bands' best efforts.  This album is a case in point; perhaps Pinnick's finest of his half dozen solo efforts.  It is raw, down and dirty, but chock full of soul.  At over 60 years old, he still possesses one of the greatest sets of pipes in heavy music.  This collection showcases Pinnick's voice, songwriting, guitar playing, and his often-imitated-but-never-duplicated bass riffage.  And it’s all the more impressive to know that he also produced, engineered, does all the vocals and all the instruments sans lead guitar on one song.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2013  Volume 6 at lulu.com/strangesound.

Track by Track Review
What You Gonna Do?
Opening with a stream-of-consciousness autobiographical lyric, Pinnick sets the stage for the entire album: “At the end of the day / All you got is you / What you gonna do?”
If U F** Up
Anyone who's ever seen King's X in concert (or seen/heard their live recordings) knows that Pinnick does a bit of rock 'n' roll preaching from the "First Church of Rock & Roll" (as their t-shirts say).  This song is a bit like one of those inspirational - albeit irreverent – sermons.
Speeding Love
Perhaps the most King’s X-ish song on the album, the verses have a choppy syncopation that gives it the urgency the lyrics imply.  Pinnick’s lead work is short and succinct.
Courage
The chords sequence on the verses reminds me of something John Lennon might have come up with, but the song as a whole is pure Pinnick.  The lead work on this song is almost Brian May-like.  "Do something you think you can't / Who are you are you won't forget / Where you been and where you're at / Courage is just an act" 
Ain't That the Truth
I'm guessing that this song was a musical response to King's X drummer Jerry Gaskill's recent heart attack.  It has a very funky bass line and one of the more memorable choruses of this set.  "Cell phone started ringing with text messages" could be about either Gaskill's heart attack or the complete loss of his home to Hurricane Sandy, but his "50/50 chance" probably means this is about his cardiac arrest.  "Internet was buzzing about you."
That Great Big Thing
The riff on this song reminds me of Pinnick's two albums under the name “Poundhound.”  It is as grimy and gritty as you’ll find anywhere.  This is the one song on the album that isn’t completely based on reality.  I read somewhere that the chorus is nonsensical, but that the rest of the lyrics are all drawn from Pinnick’s own life.
The Point
This ballad features another Beatle-esque chord pattern with slightly psychedelic harmonies.  A big talk box solo really gives this its Technicolor glow.
Take Me away from You
Pinnick delivers a bit of paranoia here, in this "world of trouble," where it seems more and more like Big Brother is watching us: “Satellite watching you / GPS tracking what you do.”  Musically, the syncopated, heavy riff with a counterpoint melody makes this one of the standout tracks. 
I Hope I Don't Lose My Mind
This one is a slow psychedelic blues of sorts.  It includes a big wah-wah solo!  Tracking at over eight minutes, it’s the one tune that really breaks down into a jam like half the songs on his 2007 release, Strum Sum Up.
Heart Attack
In what sounds like an autobiographical reflection on his childhood, Pinnick once again overcomes the obstacles in his life.  Soulful, slower verses turn to heavier choruses, before an unconventional slide solo, and back again.  "We hide in the shadow of the sun / The moon and the stars / Believe in love."
I'm Not Gonna Freak Out
Sounding like an outtake from King's X' Manic Moonlight, this song has repetitive phrases and alternates from slow verse to powerful chorus.
 
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