Pitchfork (Website) - "[T]he songs here consistently yield charming little details, like the bouncing baritone harmony that serves as a secondary percussion track on Khan's 'Illuminations'..."
Recording information: Moon Studios, Berlin; Sultan's Cave.
Photographer: Miron Zownir.
Montreal/Berlin doo wop garage punk duo the King Khan & BBQ show created a one-of-a-kind combination of raw energy and unexpectedly smart, simplistic melodies over the course of three incredible albums, a run that ended with 2009's Invisible Girl. Composed of garage scene veterans Mark Sultan and Arish Ahmad Khan, their unhinged, unpolished approach to stripped-down punk-blues rompers was uniquely tempered by their knack for hooks modeled after classic soul and early R&B. The band went through a brief break-up and had other projects during the six years that passed between Invisible Girl and its 2015 follow-up Bad News Boys, but very little has changed in their always fun, always messy songwriting formula. Sultan's (aka BBQ) ramshackle drum kit, consisting of little more than a ratty kick drum, various tambourines, and the occasional snare, provides a stomping background for garage rave-ups like the Nuggets-friendly "When Will I Be Tamed?" and the slightly surfy, creepy camp of "Killing the Wolfman." More doo wop-inflected numbers like album-opener "Alone Again" and the shuffling "Ocean of Love" are highlights, but the two keep things light and irreverent by throwing in wild cards like the one-take toilet humor hardcore of "D.F.O." or the sophomoric novelty pop of "Snackin' After Midnight." These lighthearted diversions, as well as hints of psychedelia peppered throughout the album, point to some slow artistic development for King Khan & BBQ, but that's all just icing on the cake. The sentimental doo wop vocals filtered through a slightly muddy garage rock lens butt up against the cartoonishly crass punk rock rants and the mild tripouts for yet another album of pure fun and explosive rock & roll antics, with a delivery that by now belongs solely to these wild-eyed champions of inspiration and profanity. ~ Fred Thomas