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Design By Humans
Published On: Thu, Sep 5th, 2013

King Khan & The Shrines: Idle No More

king kahn

King Khan & The Shrines
Idle No More
(Merge Records)

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King Khan is a man that gets around. You may have first heard him with The King Khan and BBQ Show or the Tandoori Knights or The Almighty Defenders. The first time I ever heard him though, he was fronting his group, The Shrines. If you’ve never experienced them live, there’s one for your bucket list. The Shrines are a big band that plays soul music and King Khan fronts them like a psychotic Otis Redding. He can howl and wail with the best of them, but his presence is ruder and cruder.

Idle No More at first feels like a departure. Songs like “Born to Die” and “Thorn in Her Pride” are pretty psych rock. It sounds like he’s been listening to a bunch of The Brian Jonestown Massacre. In fact, the whole record has a more subdued feel. Lyrically, Idle No More is a lot less jokey than it’s predecessors. Even King Khan’s voice sounds cleaner, missing it’s usual grittiness. None of this is to say that it isn’t a good album.

With repeated listens, the best material pops out. “Luckiest Man” took about three listens for me to realize it was the best song on the album. The surprising closer “Of Madness I Dream” was so surprising that I didn’t even remember it the second time I heard it. Two ballads in the middle of the record, “Darkness” and “Pray For Lil,” are so good that they form a peak that the latter half of the album can’t quite reach. Still, this is an excellent entry in King Khan and the Shrines’ discography and King Khan himself remains the maddest madman band leader that doesn’t have the word Screamin’ in front of his name.

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King Khan & The Shrines: Idle No More