king khan and the shrinesthe supreme genius of...
  • TUESDAY, OCTOBER 28, 2008

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Don't be deceived by the scratchy, vinyl hiss that accompanies The Supreme Genius of King Khan. The nasty, psycho soul and raunchy rhythm and blues that sweats and swelters over the course of this electric collection wasn't compiled from a few pieces of wax someone, somewhere just sort of happened upon. No, King "Bama Lama" Khan and his 12-piece big band are very much of the here and now...a fantastic fact that'll have listeners testifying live in the court of Khan soon after the sixteen tracks offered here have run 'em clear over.

Released earlier this past summer, the sizzling sounds of The Supreme Genius came to be courtesy of Vice Records...which makes a whole lot of sense, considering the back story of this bodacious outfit. The Black Lips' own Jared Swilley could be credited for helping to bring Khan and his German bred band across the ocean, shortly after accidentally stumbling upon the howling, hotheaded shaman one fateful evening in London. The Supreme Genius offers an immediate reason why Swilley had Khan and the Shrines shipped to the States. On the crackling opener Torture", listeners are introduced to the Shrines' rousing pedigree: blaring, Stax-style brass, a pounding, four on the floor rhythmic pulse, thick, honey-suckled church-choir organs, and Khan...screeching and wheezing into the microphone like some hot and bothered hyena.

What follows is a well-instructed set of tracks that could easily be confused as the production of several generations past...save the kind of racy way with words that never would have flew during funk, soul, and r and b's heyday. On "Took My Lady to Dinner", Khan laments for a relationship gone awry by the gastronomical ways of a gargantuan companion. Declaring, "My baby's fat, she's ugly, but I love her...I really do!" Khan recounts his sexual frustrations, with hilarious results ("All I wanted was a little romance. A little hoochie coo on the side. Instead I watcher her booty grow to three times its' original size."). Poor, poor Khan. You really feel for him, don't you? Other notable highlights on the record include the surfy, tranny anthem, "I Want to Be a Girl" and "Shivers Down My Spine"; a slow and sexy waltz in which Khan and the band straight kill it. - david pitz

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