Recent Merge signees King Khan & the Shrines have released the second track off their first album in five years, the upcoming Idle No More. Whereas first single “Born to Die” was a raucous bit of psych-rock, “Darkness” is a soul-infused ballad that features Khan’s falsetto crooning and enough rapid-fire strings and guitars to keep it from getting too sentimental.
The song also comes with a stop-motion video centered around two carnival buddies, a strongman and a human cannonball, dealing with such themes as loss and the afterlife. In other words, it’s not a very happy circus. The clip, directed by German collective Hylas, reflects the inner turmoil Khan experienced for years leading up to the new album.
“I sort of had a breakdown and was undergoing these serious psychiatric things, so I had to turn off my brain completely,” he told The New York Times, which premiered the song. “These tracks come after thinking I’d never write music again.” Revisit SPIN’s recent interview with the head Shriner to find more of Khan’s thoughts on the album — and why he wants to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s penis.
Idle No More is due out September 3