The King Khan & BBQ Show / King Khan / BBQ

Invisible Girl

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While King Khan's star has been rising as the world's leading South Asian R&B shouter with his band the Shrines, it's good to know he still finds time to make music with former Spaceshits bandmate and pal BBQ (aka Mark Sultan), and their third album as a duo, Invisible Girl, shows they still bring out the best in one another. Invisible Girl is just a little less raw than 2006's What's for Dinner?, but the margin's pretty slim -- Khan and Sultan are still churning out wound-up 21st century variations on classic soul, blues, and rock & roll themes, and letting their guitars wail (and BBQ's feet beat out a rhythm) while they wrap their voices around these tunes with ragged-but-right harmonies and some pretty impressive doo wopping on numbers like "Third Avenue" and "Anala." The title of the latter tune points to the band's occasional eagerness to play the bad taste card (the high/low point comes with "Tastebuds"), but for the most part, they take this material pretty straight, and their vocal and instrumental skills get better with each album, through they know their strengths well enough to keep this music from getting anywhere close to slick. And if you can't get a party started behind the riotous "Animal Party," the cool-rockin' "Lonely Boy," or the garage-centric "Truth or Dare," my guess is that you're having-a-good-time license has been revoked. Invisible Girl is no-frills rhythm & blues and rock & roll done right, and the King Khan and BBQ Show get on the good foot with a mixture of sincerity and wailing abandon most of their contemporaries can't match; if this moves a little slower than their previous efforts, they're still crossing the finish line way ahead of the pack.

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