CD Review of Strum Sum Up by dUg Pinnick
Recommended if you like
Galactic Cowboys, Glenn Hughes, Living Colour
Label
Magna Carta
dUg Pinnick: Strum Sum Up

Reviewed by R. David Smola

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D
oug Pinnick sounds like he is having a great time on his new solo record. He also sounds relaxed and focused qualities not evident on his last two solo projects. 2001’s Pineappleskunk, from his vanity band, Poundhound, lacked consistency, as did 2005’s Emotional Animal. Pinnick proves here that when he has the appropriate foils for his ideas, he can put out some remarkable material. The entire King’s X catalogue is a shining example of this principle in action. Skunk and Animal were records in which Pinnick did almost everything but the drum tracks. Left to his own devices and without a sounding board, those records were quickly derailed. Conversely, Pinnick delivered two great records as part of Reb Beach’s (Winger, Whitesnake, Dokken) the Mob and Supershine, a one-off collaboration with Trouble’s Bruce Franklin.

Wally Farkas from the Galactic Cowboys is Pinnick’s sounding board for Strum Sum Up, and the results are fabulous. Along with producer Michael Parnin and executive producer Hal Sparks (yep, “Talk Soup” and “Queer as Folk”), Pinnick assembles an excellent corps of players to create an organic sound. With Farkas and Pinnick on guitars (Doug puts down the bass on this album), Kelli Scott (Failure) on drums and bassist David Henning, the riffs are crunchy and tasty. Four songs are divided into two parts, the first being the vocal-dominated track and the second a jam portion in which the band plays where the groove takes them. “Perfect World,” “Dynomite,” “Life Is What You Make It” and “Cross It” all have jams, and none of it feels like filler. Steve Stevens (Billy Idol) delivers his guitar magic on “Damn It,” one of the best tracks on a strong album.

Even though this record is from the lead singer of King’s X, and Pinnick has one of the best and most distinctive voices in rock today, the album doesn’t sound like King’s X. This is an album that has a live vibe, like many of their records, but the style is all Doug a little funkier, and instead of harmonizing magically with Ty Tabor and Jerry Gaskill, the harmonies are either layered tracks of himself or with guest backing vocalists like Alain Johannes & Nastasha Shneider of Queens of the Stone Age. Pinnick sounds happy and confident for the first time in several solo tries; Strum is every bit as good as his initial Poundhound record, 1998's Massive Grooves From the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism, and that is one excellent disc. This might have been released at the end of the year, but it is one of 2007’s best.

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