Smash Hits

King Khan & the Shrines / King Khan

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Smash Hits Review

by Rick Anderson

You do have to hand it to the guy -- King Khan is a pretty great stage name for a spastic retro-rocker of East Indian ethnicity. And word is that he's amazing on-stage. But man, this is a lousy album. It sounds good on paper: self-styled wildman single-handedly resurrects the trashy sound of 1960s garage rock, complete with Genuine Vintage Crappy Production Values and a vocal technique that sounds like the Cramps channeling the Count Five. But in practice, the result is just a sludgy, lo-fi mess, and it's not nearly as much fun as it ought to be. Things get better when the horns come in (as they do, powerfully, on "Tell Me" and the blues-based "Kukamonga Boogaloo"), and they get worse when you can understand the words ("I knew you'd be mine/'Cause you look so fine," for example, or "She's fat and she's ugly/But I love her love her/Yes I yes I yes I do"). If this guy didn't feel the need to camp everything up so outrageously, the OK songs might be pretty good, and the lousy ones might be OK. And not to be a party pooper or anything, but frankly, a little bit of production quality might help, too. As it is, King Khan obviously had a lot more fun making this album than you'll have listening to it.

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