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The King Khan and BBQ Show - Invisible Girl

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Artist: The King Khan and BBQ Show

Album: Invisible Girl

Label: In the Red

Review date: Nov. 6, 2009

The King Khan & BBQ Show have their approach fairly locked down on this third full-length: doo-wop-heavy garage numbers share space with classic-R&B ballads, 1960s pop, and more straight-ahead punk — clanging guitars and papa-oom-mow-mows abound. The main thing differentiating Invisible Girl from past albums is the novelty factor -- it’s higher than ever.

First and foremost, these boys play party music; but be forewarned, the party between the grooves of Invisible Girl is, at times, positively filthy. “Animal Party,” originally appearing on a 7" for Fat Possum in 2008, is punctuated with imitation honks and grunts from the barnyard and jungle to the point where you can almost smell the shit on the carpet. The album’s raunchiest number, the Blowfly-by-way-of-Oblivians stomper “Tastebuds,” ponders the uptick in sexual satisfaction one might get if granted said sensory receptors on the more erogenous locations of the anatomy. Ah, let’s just dispense with the euphemisms: dudes want tastebuds on their cocks.

This knuckle-headed hedonism, as it was on previous efforts, is nicely complemented by great hooks. “Spin the Bottle,” for example, concerns a most simple love triangle with a most simple solution made all the more sweet by its (almost) island-tinged rhythms. Album closer “Do the Chop” is a brilliant soul-garage shouter that rides perhaps the album’s finest riff; what appears to be nothing more than a dance tune turns out to posses one of the album’s strongest melodies, too. The album’s title song is perhaps the most enjoyable head-scratcher here, a straight-forward pop-rocker imbued with subtle day-at-the-beach sound effects, lite-psych DayGlo imagery, and (dare I use the term?) “indie-rock” jangle. It works as part of the duo’s on-going music history lecture, but it’s definitely doing its own thing.

When you’re a two-man operation where one guy wears a turban and the other a fringed mini-skirt, you’re bound to here the word gimmick tossed around. But rather than feel offended by this potentially pejorative notion, Khan and BBQ seem to fully embrace it. The duo pumps out the kind of novelty music that made early rock & roll so much fun, the kind of stuff the Cramps originally found so ghoulish (before talking it one step too far) and Norton Records built its reputation on. To think about Invisible Girl too much would most certainly do it a disservice. Khan and BBQ are obviously not reinventing the wheel -- they’re just reveling in the eternal command of lock-up-your-daughters rock & roll.

By Nate Knaebel

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