Album Reviews

King Khan & the Shrines: Idle No More

King Khan & the Shrines

I’ve become hypnotized. Haunted. Unsuspectingly allured. There is darkness / In every inch of my veins / In every pleasure, in every pain, coos King Khan with a high-pitched and heartfelt falsetto in “Darkness”, a bluesy, jazzy, laid back garage-pop ballad. The words are gripping amidst blaring soulful saxophones and trumpets. It’s enough to melt you inside.

“Darkness” is one of those timeliness tracks.

In fact, that’s an area where King Khan & the Shrines excels. Funk, soul, garage-punk: King Khan & the Shrines blends a multitude of genres and sub-genres into a sound both familiar and unique. “Thorn in Her Pride” could easily have been a popular hit from the late 60s, early 70s. Jump forward five years to the mid 70s, and that’s where you’ll find “Born to Die”.

King Khan & the Shrines has been around, at least in some form, since the late 90s. King Khan himself has traveled the world of music making since the mid 90s. His latest album under The Shrines — which is where you’ll find “Darkness”, “Thorn in Her Pride” and “Born to Die” — is called Idle No More.

About the album, Khan has this to say:

Idle No More really documents a very big healing process that I had to go through in the past few years and I hope that this music can help the healing process the world is so badly in need of right now.”

The sense of overcoming a darkness, or at least something unpleasant, in one’s self or due to a tragedy or inner struggle is apparent throughout the album. Just as there’s that seemingly introspective personal coming-to-terms on Idle No More, there’s also an underlying angst with the state of the world and where it’s headed. And while the music, rhythm and melodies are wholeheartedly enjoyable, these tones of inner and outer unrest make for an intriguing listen.

Idle No More came out earlier this month on Merge Records. Watch the official video for “Darkness” and listen to “Born to Die” below. Above photo courtesy Matias Corral.

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