King Khan / The Gris Gris

Murderburgers

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Who needs a band when you have friends? King Khan has worked with plenty of musicians over the years, including the garage-punk band the Spaceshits, minimalist blues stomper BBQ, and his own show band the Shrines, but though Khan announced that 2017's Murderburgers would be his first solo album, that doesn't mean he was working entirely on his own. For Murderburgers, Khan brought along producer Greg Ashley, who in turn brought in his own band, the Gris Gris, to back Khan on these sessions. And it turns out everyone in this scenario made fine choices; Murderburgers is one of the most tuneful, eclectic, and satisfying albums King Khan has delivered to date, and the Gris Gris have the chops and the imagination to keep up with Khan at every turn. From the ramblin' folk rock of "It's Just Begun," the slinky R&B of "Too Hard and Fast," and the garage rock swagger of "It's a Lie" to the proto-punk rave-ups "Born in 77" and "Teeth Are Shite," and the mournful blues-rock exercises "Desert Mile" and "Winter Weather," Khan covers most if not all of the bases of his musical influences, and the Gris Gris turn out to be a near-perfect backing band for him, sounding solid throughout and showing personality and high spirits no matter where Khan's muse takes them. As a vocalist, Khan steps up his game, sounding as passionate as ever but also hitting the notes and generating a mood with more than just his energy, and this set of melodies is as good as anything he's released to date. Murderburgers shows that King Khan is growing as a songwriter and a vocalist, and he's a great collaborator, as he and the Gris Gris bring out the best in one another in the studio; hopefully the next bunch of friends he works with will work as hard and as well for him.

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