REVIEW: KXM – SCATTERBRAIN (2017)

The clue is in the name, but that’s all you’ll guess

KXM are so named because drummer Ray Luzier is in Korn, singer/bassist dUg Pinnick is best known for his work in Kings X and guitarist George Lynch has is eponymous mob.

And if you are wondering where these three seemingly disparate musicians met, then the answer is at a kids party. They started jamming, and an album ensued.

“Scatterbrain” is their second, and it is altogether darker than the debut, but just like you’d expect from the personnel then you never quite know what’s coming next.

A lengthy record of 13 songs, it kicks off with its title track and its typical of much of the album in that it is anything but a typical song. Lynch, who is in fine form throughout does some deft stuff with his guitar and Pinnick’s gift for finding lyrics and melody that never lets you settle is stamped all over it.

“Breakout” builds itself around a massive great swinging groove from Luzier, and “Big Sky Country” is so huge sounding that it makes Everest look like a lot of fuss about nothing. The wonderful chorus here marks this one as a real highlight too.

“Calypso” is another that dares you to try and pin it down, and is another that shouldn’t work as a song but absolutely does, while “Not A Single Word” is straight out of the file marked “I never saw that coming”. A thumping, driving intro moves into a ska filled verse, and gives way to a harmony packed hook. Head scratching? You bet.

“Obsession” is a crushing rocker, but all of that is too samey for this bunch and the fact the songs are longer than you find on most hard rock records (not many here are under five minutes) gives these ideas chance to form and room to breathe.

“Panic Attack” ploughs a dark furrow, but that’s balanced with the funky “It’s Never Enough” and “True Deceivers” sees Pinnick bring his A game over the type of rock music that Glenn Hughes was doing so well on his album earlier this year.

“Scatterbrain” really sees the trio come together and their chemistry – and gift for the unsettling – is really seen on the likes of “Stand” which has a kind of discordance about it, as if it is wilfully disobeying the rules.

To that end, “Together” pulses and crackles with a real energy, and if the thing ends with perhaps its most conventional cut, the lilting ballad “Angel” then it’s still brilliantly done.

With the wealth of experience and brilliant music the three have produced between them over the years, you always expect something special from KXM. On “Scatterbrain” though, they have made something that adds to even those legacies.

Rating 8/10