For a nice change of pace, here’s an album I don’t want to review because I don’t want to move on from it. Partly because the album is damned near perfect (take off the draggy “Flies And Blue Skies” and it would be five clowns) but partly because I know the next album in King’s X’s discography is Ear Candy, and that’s the last King’s X album I ever listened to because it was such a huge disappointment to me coming on the heels of King’s X and this disc.
Dogman is a pretty big departure from the rest of the band’s catalog. While they had been doing the drop-D tuning thing for a while, here they dive right into more of a full-on grunge feel. A less-bluesy Jerry Cantrell-style guitar is the centerpiece of the album, but the songs are rougher, rawer, not quite as soaringly constructed (if that makes sense) as their previous albums. This one just feels dirtier (song titles include “Black The Sky,” “Cigarettes” and “Go To Hell”), and in a really good, satisfying way. Like it hits your gut more than your head, though it’s cerebral as hell, too.
I’m not sure why this album wasn’t huge, because it’s got all the catchy, strong elements of its predecessors and does an adequate job of shedding the religious sheen that might have turned people off earlier in their discography. Maybe people thought they were jumping on the grunge bandwagon. I don’t think they were…the band has always said they were unhappy with the sound Sam Taylor gave them and wanted a heavier sound. (Notably, Brendan O’Brien, one of the banes of my existence based on his destruction of all that was good in Pearl Jam and Bruce Springsteen, produced this album. Probably his best output by far.) My guess is that by 1994 we were starting to see some grunge backlash, and besides, they just didn’t look like guitar-rock gods. Drummer Jerry Gaskill always looked like an aging Rush roadie, and Doug Pinnick, well, there aren’t a whole lot of really successful guitar-oriented bands fronted by a black man playing bass.
Fuck, though, this is such an amazing album.
Mix: “Black The Sky,” “Sunshine Rain,” “Complain,” “Go To Hell”
– “Dogman,” “Shoes,” “Pretend,” “Fool You,” “Don’t Care,” “Human Behavior,” “Cigarettes,” “Pillow,” “Manic Depression”
– “Flies And Blue Skies”
Filed Between: King’s X’s King’s X and Ear Candy
Song Notes: After the jump
- Dogman – Immediately struck by how compressed everything sounds. Not in a loud way, but in a claustrophobic way. There you go, Brendan O’Brien.
- Shoes –
- Pretend –
- Flies And Blue Skies – very bluesy start.
- Black The Sky –
- Fool You –
- Don’t Care –
- Sunshine Rain –
- Complain –
- Human Behavior –
- Cigarettes –
- Go To Hell –
- Pillow –
- Manic Depression – such a huge, huge sound