Complete studio albums (and more!), part 7
KING’S X – Dogman (1994 Atlantic)
I remember getting this for Christmas of 1994. “Blown away” about sums it up.
Is Dogman their best album? No, but it sure was a shock to my system when I first heard it. Back in the 1990’s, I skipped the previous (self-titled) album and picked this up based solely on the strength of the killer first single “Dogman”. I could not believe the song — groovy, basic, heavy, angry but loaded with soul and melody. Just like King’s X in general, but “Dogman” upped the heavy and downplayed some of King’s X whimsy.
When I got the album Dogman, one thing surprised me — not one song was sung by Ty Tabor! Except for the bridge on “Dogman”, all lead vocals were handled by Doug Pinnick. This was disappointing to me as I like bands with two lead singers. I never heard why Ty doesn’t sing on it, but I adjusted. Truthfully every song on Dogman is a winner, and are suited to Doug’s vocals. In hindsight, it fits the direction.
I mean, this band is so freakin’ talented! From the sheer unique sound of this band, mixing progressive rock with heavy metal and soul, mixed with the Beatles and so much more…you can’t see enough good things about King’s X. I love Doug’s bass, I think he’s playing 8 or 12 string in spots. But what makes this band unique is Doug’s voice. Nobody else has that.
Doug’s lyrics are quite obtuse (I don’t know what “Tide, underside my pillow, willow, whoa-oh, thundering” means) but the way he sings it sure sounds like he has something to get off his chest. “Passionate” might be one way to describe these songs. At the same time there are slower songs like “Flies and Blue Skies” that I won’t call a ballad, but have that ballady vibe.
Highlights: The title track, “Shoes”, “Cigarettes”, “Pillow”, “Pretend”, “Fool You”, “Go To Hell”, “Complain”, and…hell. All the rest.
I really like “Cigarettes”…it’s just mournful. “Shoes” is more upbeat and grooving, although still with dark undertones. Really, the whole album has darker undertones than previous King’s X releases. And that’s just fine. It was 1994. What are you gonna do?
Lowlights: None. There are no weak songs. Maybe just the live version of “Manic Depression” (Hendrix). I liked that they tacked on a live cover at the end of the album, it’s just not my favourite Hendrix tune by a good margin.
Notably, this is King’s X first album without Sam Taylor producing. It was crushingly produced for the 1990’s by Brendan O’Brien.
Part 1 – Out of the Silent Planet (1988)
Part 2 – Gretchen Goes to Nebraska (1989)
Part 3 – Kings of the Absurd (split bootleg with Faith No More)
Part 4 – Faith Hope Love by King’s X (1990)
Part 5 – “Junior’s Gone Wild” (from 1991’s Bill & Ted’s Bogus Journey soundtrack)
Part 6 – King’s X (1992)