Talented Texas rock trio King's X is a vastly overlooked band except for as musicians, but one thing is certain -- they need all three of their musicians to function at full capacity. Upon their 1997 Best Of CD, guitarist Ty Tabor's 1998 solo debut, Moonflower Lane, and bassist/vocalist Doug Pinnick's band, Poundhound's Massive Grooves CD that same year, the rumor was that King's X was finished after a 12-year recording career. But Moonflower Lane missed Pinnick's soulful vocals as much as Massive Grooves lacked Tabor's fiery guitar playing, so the trio's 1998 Tape Head CD signaled a truce. Yet Pinnick still seems to think that his voice isn't heard enough even though he's the King's X frontman, as evidenced by Poundhound's 2001 Pineappleskunk sophomore release. Again recording with King's X drummer Jerry Gaskill, Pinnick crafts a 16-step program in disappointment, otherwise "written, arranged, recorded, mixed, produced and performed by Doug Pinnick." Pinnick opens the introductory track "Somedays" with the line "Now I'm on my own/I took a break for heaven's sake," the first of the many trite lyrical excursions that he avoids with King's X. "If people could stop sucking, the world could be a better place" dooms "Next in Line," and Pinnick's guitar playing -- no match for Tabor's, or even his own creatively effect-laden bass tones and soaring voice -- thwarts nearly every tune. With whammy-bar dives and pick scratches reminiscent of a second-rate Joe Satriani, Pinnick reduces "Mind" and "Atlanta" to "music minus one" variations of King's X. Unfortunately, that "one" is Tabor, an under-heard yet extraordinary blend of Jimi Hendrix, Steve Vai, and Pink Floyd's David Gilmour. Pinnick also puts the spotlight too much on himself by overdubbing all his own vocal harmonies, rather than allowing Gaskill -- one-third of the most choir-like band in rock -- to do anything but play drums. Glimmers of R&B ("Jumpin") and strutting metal ("Eventime") keep Pineappleskunk off the respirator, but for Pinnick's best work from this time frame, refer to King's X's 2000 CD, Please Come Home...Mr. Bulbous.
by Bill Meredith