It’s been six long years since King Khan’s last release with The Shrines. Idle No More, the newest addition to King Khan’s long list of garage-punk records, is a record not to be missed.
King Khan’s music has always been deeply embedded with sounds of funk, soul, and infused with the barre chords of garage. This album is no different. What sets this album apart from the rest, however, is its departure from Khan’s zany, lust appeal and a shift towards a set of less playful, introspective lyrics. Written in the title of the record, Idle No More, hints at a more socially conscious, movement-of-the-masses approach to the lyrics without actually having any politically-fueled words. Its focus is targeted more to those plugging in their headphones rather than those tuning in on the radio or MTV (do people still watch MTV?).
Even with the more serious tone to the record, Idle No More doesn’t disappoint with its handful of upbeat romps. The combination of a vocal horn section and Khan’s pinched, unpredictable voices is reminiscent of a Broadway production (albeit much less campy and a lot more rock’n’roll). This record has brass coming out of its ass.
The main theme of the album is darkness. The upbeat, horn-layered songs are balanced with others that scream melancholy and hopelessness. KK&TS are telling the masses that, no matter how bleak things may look, keep on dancing and not giving any fucks. This album is still full of the unapologetic style Khan is known for, but there’s something different about this record. Idle No More isn’t as explosive as What Is!?; the groove is still there in spades, but it’s now paired with an extra dose of the blues. There’s a balance between hopeless and hopeful, realist and optimist.
That more honest side to this record is what pushes Idle No More into the upper echelon of 2013 albums. The non-stop groove, the blues licks, the heavy riffs, and screaming horns combine for some serious ass-shaking tunes. KK&TS are psych-rock shamans and they have brought us some medicine to soothe our souls. Plug in, tune out, shake your ass, dance around, forget the world, and shout it loud. King Khan & The Shrines have knocked one out of the park.
Watch King Khan & The Shrines’ “Darkness”: