Six years doesn’t seem like a long enough break for a band to have a comeback, but the energy on King Khan and the Shrines' Merge debut, Idle No More, is effectively the same as a comeback album.
King Khan still has the same rip-roaring grooves, although they are cleaned up and sounding fresh thanks to strings, horns, and crisper production. Idle No More takes the garage party out of the garage and moves it onto the stage.
The record has a lot of range. It starts out with the bold, Hendrix-tinged “Born to Die” and seamlessly progresses to the make-you-wanna-shout, rump shaking Otis Redding-inspired “Luckiest Man” a few songs later.
King Khan takes it further with “Darkness,” a broody ballad that nearly steals the show. The falsetto vocals are laced with a bit too much self-deprecation that makes it feel like a joke rather than an honest set piece. King Khan never takes himself seriously for too long, but this is a moment that could bring down the house and he shies away from it.
The stand out on Idle No More is “I’ll Get Made.” Surfy keys, dirty guitar lines, and a story of man who sacrifices the future for the present combine to make a tense and exhilarating groove.
There are many albums that could soundtrack a party by themselves, but Idle No More has a mix of toe tappers, shoe scuffers, and hold your partner closers that make it perfect for those new school year house parties.
King Khan and The Shrines will play Motorco in Durham on Saturday, November 2, with Hellshovel and Black Zinfandel. Tickets are $14 in advance.