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KXM: Scatterbrain

There's no doubt that the 2014 debut effort from drummer Ray Luzier (Korn), guitarist George Lynch (Dokken) and bassist/vocalist Dug Pinnick (Kings X) exceeded expectations. An album difficult to tie down in terms of sound and style impressing one and all. Three years later and the trio return with Scatterbrain and simply repeat the trick. Unlike the plethora of all star projects that seem to rain down on us daily, KXM make such a strong impression because they aren't conforming to some record label's idea of what they should sound like, or worried whether their existing fanbase will immediately feel at home with this venture. Instead, as they did with the debut, the threesome simply got together and laid down a set of songs cooked up and recorded for posterity over the space of just ten days. It's no great shock that from start to finish this album sounds fresh, vital and uncontrived, because put simply, that's exactly what it is. Yes, there are times when some of the guitar solos sound like that guy from Dokken, that the vocals have a Kings X flavour to them and that the beats hammered out remind of that sticks-man at the back of the stage at a Korn gig, but at no time do these songs that take in rock, metal, prog, blues, reggae and whatever else came to mind, ever sound like those other bands. Instead "Noises In The Sky" finds a guitar call and response knocking all in its path aside as the drums crash down and the bass booms. Yet through the stinging riff and impassioned vocals, there's still melody at the song's heart and still more hooks than your average fly fisher will see in his life.

Everywhere you turn there's something to get you salivating, "Panic Attack" combining a bluesy riff to full throated vocals and understanding that you neither have to throw in every trick from your magic kit, or pummel at a million miles an hour to create a song that floors everyone through its intensity. It's a trick repeated on "It's Never Enough" and its gently funky undercurrent, the winding trance of "Stand" and the chiming, atmospheric "Angel". However in "Big Sky Country", a flanged guitar riff calls out, repeatedly baying and barking for all it's worth, as Pinnick howls and wails from the heart. It's big, it's clever, it's like someone took early Van Halen and fed them some seriously sick shit and then turned the volume up to one hundred. It's also the first cut of 2017 that's stopped me in my tracks and made me replay it six or seven times before I could even considering moving on to the next song. Impressively it remains as fresh and full of vim as it was on that first listen.

In an era of cookie cutter projects and ten a penny all stars turns, KXM are the exception that proves the rule. Bring three consummate musicians together, give them free reign to do what they want and stand back as they explode. Scatterbrain, which is ironically the most focused album I've heard in quite some time, is the result.

I can only insist that you need this. You really do.

Track Listing
1. Scatterbrain
2. Breakout
3. Big Sky Country
4. Calypso
5. Not a Single Word
6. Obsession
7. Noises in the Sky
8. Panic Attack
9. It's Never Enough
10. True Deceivers
11. Stand
12. Together
13. Angel

Added: April 15th 2017
Reviewer: Steven Reid
Related Link: Scatterbrain at Rat Pack Records
Hits: 2326
Language: english

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