Released: 2007, Magna Carta / Border Music
Reviewer: Anders Sandvall
The King’s X singer Dug Pinnick is now unleashing his first solo album ever. He both sings and plays guitar instead of his usual role as a bassist (though he does play bass on some tracks). Pinnick’s music sounds pretty similar to what he does in King’s X - heavy and well-played hard rock combined with soul/funk influences and some progressive parts. I can hear similarities with some of Richie Kotzen’s solo albums.
I have never been a huge fan of King’s X so my expectations weren’t high when this promo came. However, I soon found that the more I listened to it the more I liked it, and contrary to King’s X I find Pinnick’s solo album to be great. Pinnick delivers neat and smoothly-packaged music that includes both energy and vitality in large doses. Pinnick has a great voice that he knows how to use properly and he fits perfectly into the role of a hard rock/soul/funk singer.
The material is extremely solid and high-standard throughout the entire album; most of the songs are really catchy and well-written with nice hooks. I can even sense a few gospel influences, but I find they only make the songs even better. A few of the songs are divided into two separate parts but they flow together perfectly. I have to admit that the entire album is packed with killer tracks which make STRUM SUM UP a great debut solo album. It can’t get much better than this I’m afraid. The songs get better and better the more you listen to them and there’s no sign of any fatigue in his voice or in the songs whatsoever. The production by Pinnick, Wally Farkas and Michael Parnin is heavy and a bit mean, yet smooth. They have done a great job mixing and matching the hard rock and the softer soul/funk influences together.
This is an excellent debut solo album and Pinnick has surely taken this genre a step further. All fans of King’s X are gonna love this, and even those who don’t like King’s X might like it. I’m stunned.