I really liked KXM‘s first self-titled album and was looking forward to this second release, Scatterbrain. My preference is to not listen to single tracks as they’re released but to get the entire experience, track by track, in order. The first track – the title track – was also the first single, so I got to start where everyone else did. I’ll be honest, I didn’t get it on the first listen, but the more I listen, the better it gets. The drums really kick things off, along with George Lynch‘s deft guitar work. At first, I thought of the Winery Dogs, based on its time signature changes and simply how many notes they fit into the chorus, but the song eventually breaks down into a nice groove. I think listeners will find this album more approachable than what Richie Kotzen and company released last year.
The opening riffs are what I noticed most often as I went through the album, starting with the second track, “Breakout”. I’m a huge fan of George Lynch, and he does not disappoint here. Sometimes heavy, like my favorite song, “Big Sky Country” or the breakdown in “Obsession”, and sometimes creative as another voice to pair with dUg Pinnick, like on “Noises in the Sky”. There’s even a little funkiness on “It’s Never Enough”. Lynch doesn’t have huge solos on every song – with this much talent, it’s truly a whole band effort – but there is plenty of shredding. Check out the solos on “Obsession” and “True Deceivers” for proof.
Pinnick is also stellar here, as he nails the vocals, switching styles between loud and screaming to dramatic and spooky while playing some really difficult bass lines – “True Deceivers” stands out for me. Pinnick, too, brings the heavy sound on “Big Sky Country” and “Panic Attack”. There’s even a fuzzy bass line on “Noises in the Sky” you might have heard on a depressing Nine Inch Nails song. Ray Luzier behind the drum kit mostly stays away from Korn territory on the album, pairing nicely with Pinnick on driving the songs ahead, but he has some outstanding songs of his own, such as “Calypso” and the title track.
If there is one criticism, it would be the way the album ends. “Angel” is not only the slowest song but also the one song they experimented on where it didn’t work. That aside, Scatterbrain is truly an outstanding effort, well ahead of their first album. The band are more cohesive and they proceeded to create something truly unique. Alas, there’s no time for a tour as Luzier is constantly on the road with Korn, and Lynch and Pinnick have their own busy schedules. But the music they have given us on this latest effort continues to impress with every listen. Give it two or three, and I promise you’ll be hooked, too. – Dave
Scatterbrain is available on Amazon through the Decibel Geek link.
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