King Khan & The Shrines
Idle No More
Merge Records
Street: 09.03
King Khan & The Shrines = Black Lips + White Fence + Not In the Face
In the mid-aughts, King Khan felt unstoppable. His tour schedule with The Shrines and The BBQ were a non-stop party, his album output was steady, and he produced for the Black Lips before piecing together the collaborative super group The Almighty Defenders. And then it all came to a screeching halt. King Khan announced he was retiring from music … until now. Idle No More is the first recorded output from the Shrines since 2008’s Vice record release, The Supreme Genius of King Khan & the Shrines. In that five-year gap, Khan says he lost many close friends (Jay Reatard among them) and went through two years of intense psychiatric treatment. It was in this midst of depression and healing that the first songs of Idle No More were crafted. On “Darkness,” the first song written for the album, he croons “This endless darkness never ceases to grow in my soul” over minimalistic percussion and lush horns and it’s heart wrenching. Although Idle No More comes from a darker place than earlier Shrines work, the bulk of the album is celebratory. It melds the psychedelic soul sounds that the band is well known for with a gospel influence. “So Wild” is my stand-out track, and seems to be an anthem for some of Khan’s fallen friends. “I drink to your memory and how it took the world by storm! Laughin’ at all them tragedies that made us who we are today,” a raspy voiced Khan sings over distorted guitar. Idle No More may have been a long time coming, but it picks up exactly where you expect it might. [Oct. 18 @ Urban Lounge] –Jeanette D. Moses