Published Feb 20, 2015After a five-year hiatus, the King Khan & BBQ Show have returned with a brand new album that picks up right where 2009's Invisible Girl left off. In 32 minutes, Bad News Boys swings between classic doo-wop ("BuyByeBhai," "Ocean of Love") and garage rock ("When Will I Be Tamed?," "Killing the Wolfman") without ever feeling slapped together or unfocused. The duo's soulful vocal harmonies intertwine with crunchy guitars and understated drums to create a sound that's both fresh and nostalgic at the same time.
The album only misses the mark with the duo's two forays into old school hardcore ("D.F.O.," "Zen Machines"). The tracks feel out of place on the record, despite King Khan and BBQ committing wholeheartedly to their performance. "D.F.O." is awkwardly juxtaposed, crammed between mid-tempo doo-wop number "BuyByeBhai" and the jangly, Kinks-esque "WeAreTheChampion," making it stick out like a sore thumb.
Then, two minutes into "Zen Machines," the last of the album's 12 songs, there's a furious, dissonant riff that repeats 30 times in 26 seconds before abruptly cutting out. The listener's given a jolt and then left hanging, with the unresolved echoes of that riff playing over and over in one's head. It's (perhaps wilfully) an uncomfortable way to wrap up an otherwise stellar record, and one that ruins the aural palate for anything you listen to next.
Still, the album is consistently gratifying. "Alone Again" and "Illuminations" start things off on a strong note, setting the tone for the rest of the record. "BuyByeBhai" sounds like something Marvin Berry & the Starlighters might have played at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance, while "Ocean of Love" could be a long lost Chuck Berry B-side.
Penultimate track "Never Felt Like This" feels like a natural closer, with the perfect tone and tempo to wind down a frenetic show full of sweaty, energized fans. All told, Bad News Boys is as solid a record as the King Khan and BBQ Show have ever put out, and a must-have for fans of both the band and the genre. (In The Red)