I mean, what more can I say about KXM that hasn’t already been? Take three Top Shelf musicians in dUg Pinnick, George Lynch, and Ray Luzier, add ice, shake vigorously, then just wait and see what flows out. Believe me when I tell you the answer is greatness, as is evidenced by new album Circle of Dolls, out now on Rat Pak Records. What else would you expect, right? Hopefully we can expect a tour one day, but for now we’ll just have to enjoy this new disc. The first thing I noticed is that it’s slightly different from the first two records, but it’s still got all three members’ distinct fingerprints all over it.
Opener “War of Words” wastes little time getting to the business at hand, and I could totally see the guys opening a show with this tune. “Mind Swamps” immediately shifts gears tempo-wise, and has a groove to it that will surely please any fans of the band. Not surprised it was one of my favorites from first listen. But the #1 Be All-End All track on this record for me has got to be “Lightning.” From the guitar sound, to the almost trance-like drum pattern, to Pinnick’s (as always) sensational vocal, to Lynch’s slow burning solo, it just might have to get added to Maestro’s Songs of the Year list come December.
Next up is a double-shot of greatness with “Time Flies” and “Twice”, both songs showcasing excellent vocal harmonies and rather unconventional arrangements, at least to someone like me. Once again Lynch knows exactly how to tailor his solos to add just the right flavor to the tracks. The man’s a master, which ain’t exactly news, amiright? I also can’t lie and say I didn’t get a KING’S X vibe from “Twice,” but that’s always a good thing! Percussion, tribal and other styles, is the order of the day for “Big As the Sun” and the heavy results are practically flawless.
While we’re at it, let’s add “A Day Without Me” to the list of standouts here. Dirty, bluesy acoustic guitars coupled with Pinnick’s killer delivery start us off before the whole thing explodes, then comes back to that dirty rhythm and back again. “Wide Awake” is interesting because I had no idea where it was headed at first, but the journey wound up being really cool, and “Cold Sweats” is a toe-tapper that utilizes a combo of off-times and soaring harmonies to get the job done. Closer “The Border” is just another indication of what these three men are capable of when they get in a room and make music.
I love the fact that the guys in KXM always come in with no songs, no demos, no preconceived notions. They get together, they jam, and that’s where the songs come from. I know not all bands can do that, but boy howdy, these boys make it look easy. We are now three albums into this union, and quite frankly I hope we get at least a dozen more. Whether you’re a KXM fan from day one like me, or a new listener, then go get Circle of Dolls if you haven’t already. This is a great record, and you’ll thank me later. So you’re welcome in advance.
STANDOUT TRACKS: “A Day Without Me”, “Twice”, “Time Flies”, “Mind Swamps”, “Lightning”, “Big As the Sun”