Under Review: The King Khan & BBQ Show – Invisible Girl

I’ve always been a fan of garage rock.  From skuzzy ‘60s gems to the Estrus Records-centered revival in the ‘90s, the genre’s aesthetics and attitude always resonated with me.  It was with great glee that I stumbled upon the music of Arish “King” Khan.  I was in California some years ago, listening to the satellite radio in the rental car my parents and I were in when “Torture,” from The Supreme Genius Of King Khan & The Shrines, came howling out of the speakers.  Certainly this was a forgotten track that as recently unearthed, I thought.  Much to my (pleasant) surprise, Khan’s music is very much a current production, as he is a rather prolific recording artist.  Reuniting with frequent collaborator/opening act, Mark “BBQ” Sultan, The King Khan & BBQ Show returns with a set of raunchy, fuzzed-out tunes that are sure to be a hit on transistor radios everywhere.  Invisible Girl begins with “Anala,” an ode to a girl whose name is pronounced exactly as you think it would be.  Profane humor isn’t the duo’s only trick, but it’s a major one.  “Tastebuds” is, at first, a “Palisades Park”-ish bubblegum tune before reaching its unspeakable chorus.  What sets The King Khan & BBQ Show apart from either member’s other outlets is the strong doo-wop influence.  Sultan’s deep voice contrasts Khan’s nasal wail perfectly on “Third Ave.” and “Do The Chop.”  The album’s lo-fi tone also compliments the retro music much better than the duo’s Black Lips collaboration, The Almighty Defenders.  Where that project’s gospel sound came off as a bit forced (and not carried through entirely), The King Khan & BBQ Show’s output is as impressive as any of The Shrines’ material.  In a musical landscape tainted by overhyped and overpaid prettyboys, Khan and Sultan do a great service in dragging rock ‘n’ roll back to its grimy, primal roots.

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~ by E. on November 4, 2009.

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