Arish Ahmad Khan, aka King Khan, brings us a more grown-up version of his garage-rock with Idle No More. The 8th full-length album from The Shrines is delightfully sprinkled with funk and punk overtones that make the garage-psychedelic melodies that much more entertaining.
The opener “Born To Die” begins with a fuzzy guitar and ominous strings, but by the time the brass kicks in at the 2 minute mark, you’re hooked. The strings and the horns bring back memories of 60’s era spy movies and car chases (I mean this in the best possible way.) You’re enjoying the song so much that it takes a deeper listen to ascertain the desperation in the lyrics. This trend continues with “Bite My Tongue” and “Better Luck Next Time.” Khan is attempting to speak out on the futility and brokenness of society in a pretty party package. Khan delves farther into human psyche with “Darkness”, his R&B falsetto perfectly illustrating the scariness of confronting ones own inner self, especially in the context of his 2010 mental breakdown. Khan is showing some vulnerability, which is interesting from a man that is usually known for wearing flamboyant headgear and little else while performing. The album closer “Of Madness I Dream” is a waltz with your own psyche. Trying to ask what it is we’re really seeing and doing with lyrics such as “the world as you know, is running on empty it seems… of madness I dream, in search of a scream.”
Not all of the record is coming from this hopeless state. “Pray for Lil” is a tender thank you to his wife for putting up with his special brand of crazy set in a sexy R&B package complete with female vocals and the fuzziest of fuzz guitars set above a delicate percussion track. “Luckiest Man” is an optimistic look at the support he’s received from friends and family throughout the years, and how even in this scary world, we can still find the good in people and what we’re given.
King Khan And The Shrines have given us a party record that also recognizes the low that comes when the party is over and you’re left with nothing but your own questions and demons to keep you company. This record isn’t just for the party, but the hangover and depression that comes when you realize the party was just to cover up your own thoughts.
King Khan and The Shrines are scheduled to perform at Terminal West on Monday, November 4!