Khan: Who Never Rests

Khan's Who Never Rests often sounds like it wants to be the 2007 spawn of Prince's Dirty Mind and The New York Dolls but, while the currently Berlin-based provocateur and one-time Captain Comatose (real name: Can Oral) certainly tries hard, his vocal and songwriting talents don't quite rise to that level. Oh, he's a decent enough singer and his songs are entertaining but Khan's ‘plastic' electro-soul-blues-rock fusion is ultimately too harmless to generate any real sense of threat or danger. When an electronically-generated female voice recites a bluesy monologue during “The Shining,” the effect serves as an apt metaphor for the faux-soul character of the album in general. Elsewhere, his claim to “dancin' with the devil” comes across like a pose, and one often feels like Khan is acting, not being, the part—a simulacrum of the real thing.

The album does include its share of good moments. Khan dons his tuxedo for a sleazy jazz-lounge interlude in “Satan Backwards” and there's a swagger and swing to funk-party jams like “I Got To” and “Take It Out On Me” that elevate them above the rest. In addition, “On The Run” slyly turns the lurching rhythm and vocal melody from “Come Together” into a sleazy electro-blues, and “B-Movie” manages to be simultaneously schizoid, futuristic, and primitive in less than two minutes. But in actual fact, Who Never Rests is quite tame. Presenting himself as a male hustler on the cover of his debut, 1-900-Get-Khan, and stripping down to perform in his underwear with his name stitched on his ass seem considerably more outrageous by comparison. The best thing about Who Never Rests is its perfect 39-minute length—not in that it's over quickly but that it's refreshing to confront an album whose thirteen songs are all four minutes or less.

May 2007