Supershine

Supershine

Metal Blade Records, 2000

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen

ORIGINALLY PUBLISHED: 10/13/2000

Doug Pinnick is quickly becoming the Everyman of hard rock.

It's not enough that the vocalist/bassist extraordinaire continues to lead his group King's X into new and exciting territories. It's now not enough that he has his own side project, Poundhound, to crank out the more gospel-based grooves that will get your butt up and dancing in your room.

Now, Pinnick has teamed up with guitarist/vocalist Bruce Franklin of Trouble to form Supershine, a collective that explores rock for rock's sake. Yet their self-titled debut makes me wonder if Pinnick isn't starting to spread himself out too thin.my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250

Adjusting to Supershine is, quite frankly, going to be a little hard depending on which side of the music you come in from. If you're expecting to hear some funk-laden progressive music a la King's X, it's not here. If you're looking for all-out guitar-driven metal, it's not here, either. Instead, you have some straight-out rock that should please both sides, though it might not leave them completely satisfied.

The one positive thing about Supershine is that this album allows Pinnick the opportunity to explore what has to be a deep-rooted love of Jimi Hendrix. His vocals sound eerily similar to the late guitar master on more than one occasion, and it's a fit that's perfect for Pinnick. Tracks like "Automatic," "I Can't Help You" and "Going Down" showcase this, all the while keeping a portion of the spotlight squarely placed on Franklin's guitar work. (Franklin gets the star treatment on the all-too-brief instrumental "In Mourning," though I do like the way it leads into the album's closer "Shadows/Light".)

Yet there is something about Supershine that suggests its true potential is left unfulfilled. Tracks like "Love," "Candy Andy Jane" and "Kingdom Come" almost sound like they were castaways from King's X sessions, and have more than a little flavor of Pinnick's main group. (Bandmate Jerry Gaskill shares the drum duties with Jeff Olson, and the disc was mixed by Ty Tabor. Hmm...) It's almost as if Supershine is still searching for its own unique voice, and it just has come up short this time around.

Make no mistake, Supershine is not a bad album in any sense of the word. But it is a project built up on high expectations, and it isn't quite capable of living up to them fully. Pinnick and Franklin seem to gel well together musically, and it would be interesting to see how future projects would turn out. Maybe Supershine is meant to be the foundation for greatness; if that's the case, it's not quite as solid as I'd like it to be.

Rating: C+

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© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Metal Blade Records, and is used for informational purposes only.