King Khan is back with ‘Idle No More’

It’s not exactly Sandinista, but King Khan & the Shrines’ new album, Idle No More, shows a personal, sociopolitical and semi-serious side to a rocker better known for outlandish on-stage antics that may include bikini briefs. The album’s name is taken from an almost yearlong protest in Canada highlighting treaty rights abuses involving the country’s indigenous people. A Canadian, Khan, whose full name is Arish Ahmad Khan, says the album overall reflects his own personal pain. Yet in interviews and his own press material, he broadens his interpretation of the songs to reflect a larger meaning. The album “documents a very big healing process that I had to go through in the past few years and I hope that this music can help the healing process the world is so badly in need of right now,” he says.

In July, Khan told the New York Times that he had a breakdown and “was undergoing these serious psychiatric things … these (album) tracks come after thinking I’d never write music again.” Even as some of the lyrics touch on Khan’s struggles, musically Idle No More sounds full of hope and celebration. The music is punctuated by upbeat, danceable tempos and horns galore. It’s an anachronistic sound that’s been Khan’s signature over the years. Very fun, Idle would be fitting played at any end of summer party. As I said, Khan only shows a semi-serious side despite his personal demons.

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