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  The Art of Crushin’
Artist: TrumpDawgs 
Label: Independent
Length: 14 tracks/58:19

Former Waterdeep member Kenny Carter is the frontman of Trump Dawgs, a Kansas City group that bills themselves as “…if Soundgarden got together with P-Funk and Jeff Buckley wandered in with Stevie Wonder and Pedro the Lion.”   The question that is raised there is “can the band possibly live up to its own expectations?”  

The title, The Art of Crushin’ , is a reference to the biblical idea of the crushing of the servant’s head that Christ will triumph over Satan, as detailed is the tune “Locomotive,” done in the style of Stevie Wonder and George Clinton:

The viper tried to take me out,
He crossed me on a dare
But that was whack so I bit him back
“Cause I crush to make it fair.
“Cold Day”, which shows the singer pining for a lost love, revives the Earth, Wind, and Fire sound, while “5:11” is straight out funk, a la Parliament-Funkadelic or Graham Central Station.  “Lullaby,” “New Song #2,” and “Whisper” bring to mind 80’s power pop band Mr. Mister, and “Wishing Well” is a cross between Sly & the Family Stone and King’s X.  

“The Last Straw” is a spoken word rap piece, a lecture delivered to a gang member: 

Just use the name I gave you
And don’t forget about the One who made you
What you are today, even though
I know it’s hard to say…

You’re losing ‘G’
If that’s what you want me
To call you, But all these nicknames
Are gonna fall through…

Anthony Case’s bass lines on this album stand out--definitely influenced by old schooler Larry Graham.  Musically, Trump Dawgs are all over the map.  A little street, a little Seattle, a little power pop, The Art of Crushin’ almost lives up to the billing the band gives themselves.

Brian A. Smith 11/10/2001



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