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Pinnick, Dug: Emotional Animal

The bassist/vocalist for King's X used the name Poundhound for his previous two solo projects. But now, at least for his third solo outing, Emotional Animal, Doug Pinnick goes by Dug Pinnick.

Regardless of what he's called these days, the man makes music here that often sounds more like classic King's X than Poundhound ever did. You can almost see King's X guitarist Ty Tabor and drummer Jerry Gaskill playing along to "Beautiful," "Bite" and "Mr. Hateyourself." In reality, though, only Pinnick and Gaskill's drumming son Joey play everything on Emotional Animal. While lacking some of the heavy and deep grooves that Poundhound churned out Poundhound's first album, after all, was titled Massive Grooves from the Electric Church of Psychofunkadelic Grungelism Rock Music the signature down-tuned bass and emotion-drenched baritone, a knack for effortlessly squeezing melody out of cacophony and twisting cryptically honest lyrics together are all here.

Pinnick wallows in hypnotically repetitious arrangements ("Noon"), bounces through countrified rockers ("Equal Rights"), releases his inner gospel singer (the not-nearly-long-enough "Wrong"), conducts weird sonic experiments that have no place in King's X ("Freak the Funk Out") and plays with words (the just-plain-bizarre "Are You Gonna Come," during which the singer either questions a lover or invokes God). Which is why Pinnick doesn't need to rip off Zeppelin (the obvious "Zepp") to remind listeners why he deserves to be a vital force in modern metal.


Track Listing:
1) Crashing
2) Beautiful
3) Change
4) Noon
5) Missing
6) Equal Rights
7) Hey Would You Know
8) Zepp
9) Haven't Been Here Before
10) Bite
11) Keep Up
12) Are You Gonna Come
13) Wrong
14) Freak the Funk Out
15) Mr. Hateyourself

Added: October 12th 2005
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score:
Related Link: Magna Carta Records
Hits: 3404
Language: english

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Pinnick, Dug: Emotional Animal
Posted by Murat Batmaz, SoT Staff Writer on 2005-10-12 15:33:19
My Score:

Any King's X fan knows that the two albums Doug Pinnick released under the Poundhound moniker were nothing but absolute solo discs that allowed him to explore different aspects of songwriting and offer his great legion of fans a more personal side of his music. Emotional Animal is still a solo album; it just got released under Pinnick's own name (except that he likes to spell his name as dUg rather than Doug) and he is still the man responsible for everything on it. As with the two Poundhound discs, he has written all lyrics and music, played all instruments with the exception of drums, and even recorded and mixed the album on his own. Before going into the details, I have to point out that the production on Emotional Animal is incredibly tight, with great sonic quality and sound separation. You'll hear various elements popping out from all different angles at various times with great dynamics. It's really awesome.

On Emotional Animal, Doug Pinnick continues to use his solo albums as a medium to push his music into unexplored directions. Although the album does share some common themes with the Poundhound records, this one is less groovy and more experimental. The songs are forthright and do not emphasize Pinnick's amazing multi-vocal harmonies heard on King's X stuff. On the contrary, Pinnick opts for a more profound musical statement by disregarding standard songwriting formulas, and forming a solid hybrid of rock, funk, grunge, alternative and pop. His voice is still among rock's most soulful ever and his lyrics are extremely personal. Best seen on the moving ballad "Beautiful", Pinnick actually sings it to himself by just creating an imaginery 'you' person, and the chorus that goes, "Don't forget that you're beautiful just the way you are" is simply haunting, given the way it is worked into the song thanks to a groovy bass bottom. Likewise, the somewhat tongue-in-cheek commentary on "Equal Rights" is actually a very sincere statement, and it is only strengthened by his classic rock signature and gospel-like vocal delivery. He even plays slide guitar on this piece that is nothing short of impressive. As a matter fact, this album is unafraid to borrow a multitude of non-rock instruments. I hear weird percussion work on "Noon", one of the darkest and creepiest songs Pinnick has written that delivers blues guitar licks and blends them with a grungy vocal style. As usual, Pinnick has a knack for melodies and this song is stamped with a very memorable melody through its 5-minute running time.

While the first half of the album contains more straightforward rock numbers punctuated by grinding groove and hard-hitting bass tones, the second half is more varied and experimental. The dirty rock'n roll on "Zepp" morphs into an unexpected trance of psychedelia halfway through, only to feature a long drum solo played by Joy Gaskill. Yes, Joy is King's X drummer Jerry Gaskill's son, and he is an amazing drummer. His style is diverse and rhythm-friendly. However, as on "Zepp", he will also cut loose from time to time. "Freak the Funk Out" is a heavily experimental song that has tribal rhythm anchor, strange voice-overs, mouth trumpet (believe it or not but it really sounds like a trumpet except that it's actually a human being producing it) and some guest back-up vocals from Kelly Watson. The song moves from genre to genre with the blink of an eye; one moment it's a crazy jazz number and then a soundtrack for a cult movie. "Are You Gonna Come" is no different stylistically. However this song has a more defined purpose to it in that it features a lot of interesting guitar work, with unconventional tunings, and a stretched improvised instrumental section that allows Joy Gaskill to once again impress us with his great drum fills.

It is a good thing that Doug Pinnick puts out solo releases in order to push the limits of his own voice and instrumental abilities. Some of the material on this disc would seem terribly out of place on, say, the latest King's X album Ogre Tones, and vice versa. So long as he has the time for both projects, King's X and Pinnick fans are in for a treat. It is worth mentioning that Emotional Animal comes with a nice CD-Rom section plus bonus demos.



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