King Khan & the Shrines – Idle No More

Boy, that’s what ya call truth-in-titling. It’s been six damn years since the last King Khan & the Shrines album, 2007’s What Is!?, and while in that time the titular King (that’s Arish Ahmad Khan to his mom) hasn’t been exactly dormant – the Montreal-born/Germany-residing garage rock icon has been seen collaborating with everyone from the Black Lips (as Almighty Defenders) to his longtime pal Mark Sultan (The King Khan & BBQ Show) to Wu Tang Clan’s GZA – for many fans, the whacked-out psychedelic soul of Khan and his Shrines is where it’s at, daddy-o.

Welcome back, then, KK&TS in all their over-the-top glory: picture an alternate universe in which Nuggets had been equally populated by snotty teens and soul revue fiends and you just might get an inkling as to how high the entertainment quotient reaches on these dozen tunes. You want soul? There’s the throbbing bass, soaring strings and girl-group backing vocals of the Blaxploitation-tilting “Thorn In Her Pride”; the big-band, high drama of “Darkness,” an emotional, tear-stained showcase for Khan; and the slick-stepping Wilson Pickett moves in “Luckiest Man,” which should clearly spawn this year’s newest dance craze… do The Lucky Man, everybody! And never fear, garage acolytes, you’ll get your fix too, notably on the sitar-and-wah-wah fueled anthem “Born To Die,” the “I’m Not Your Steppin’ Stone”-esque grooviness of “I Got Made” and the Remains/Seeds-styled stomper “Bite My Tongue.” It’s a pastiche’s, pastiche’s, pastiche’s world for Khan & Co., and I mean that in a good way.

Yours truly can testify to the sprawling ensemble’s rump-shaking greatness, having caught ‘em on the What Is!? tour and, upon exiting the venue in a sweat-drenched, hemp-scented haze, resolved to one day front my own hi-nrg, theatrically-inclined revue while wearing naught but a loincloth and gold crown and doing the chicken strut like a young Mick Jagger. The rest of you, of course, can forestall such a ghastly occurrence simply by snapping up Idle No More in sufficient quantities to make Khan a global star, thereby preempting my shot while ensuring the singular ascendance of this once and future King.

King Khan & the Shrines
Idle No More