‘Idle No More’ delivers more hot-blooded big band vibes for King Khan and the Shrines

Album review: King Khan and the Shrines’ ‘Idle No More’

King Khan and the Shrines – Idle No More
Merge Records
★★★ (out of 5 stars)

After praying to idols, overcoming grief and almost never rejoining rock & roll again, King Khan and the Shrines debuted their psychedelic, therapeutic intervention titled Idle No More. Re-emerging from his sacred lair, frontman Arish Ahmad Khan comes with offerings of more hot-blooded big band for the Shrines. It’s been five years since the band’s last release, and he’s seen some shit. “Born to Die” accosts us with garage rock guitars and baying orchestra; Khan croons about fleeting mortality in his nostalgic James Brown-esque fashion. Not every song on Idle has a driving tambourine shimmy at full-speed – in fact, the standout tracks cut to a somber half-time tempo with bleak falsetto wails. In “Darkness,” despite the melancholy, there’s sensuality in Khan’s wistful moans. “Pray for Lil” follows the slow build with tender lead vocals by Jena Roker. King Khan and the Shrines recover from stagnation by dusting off their weathered regalia – it’s a glorious exhalation for those holding their breath for Idle No More.

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