SO YOU KNOW: MARK SULTAN IS BBQ OF KING KAHN AND BBQ FAME. Sultanic Verses is Sultan’s first solo album (to the best of my knowledge); it sounds similar to his material with King Kahn And BBQ. If you’re down with BBQ’s earlier stuff—and consider yourself a dogmatic fan of “garage rock”—you might not like Sultanic Verses: it’s got eclecticism—more overt leanings on rhythm and blues, soul, and rockabilly—and wit in abundance—songs a bit more sophisticated than Dutch ovening your dead girlfriend. I’m quite smitten with Sultanic Verses and consider it exponentially superior to the myriad of other albums Sultan has played on (check Grunnen Rocks for a complete list). Look, I’ll be honest with you—unless you’re Hasil Adkins or Bradley Williams, that one-man band shit is stupid. I’d hate Sultan—his entire output with Kahn—had it not been so fucking apparent from the get-go that the man has a real fucking knack for writing songs. The shortcomings of Kahn And BBQ are apparent; the frustration palpable as the listener ponders how great a track like “Why Don’t You Lie” (off of Kahn And BBQ’s What’s for Dinner) would sound with a bass line and a little more TLC in the studio. So thank God Sultan invited a few more friends into the studio for Sultanic Verses, spent a little more time rounding out his songs. I’m too lazy to go through a track-by-track rundown on this album, but I’ll tell you this: Sultan effortlessly combines Bill Haley’s rockabilly, the Velvet’s drone, Rosie and the Originals’ doo-wop, and Eno’s thirst for the avant-garde on Sultanic Verses; quite often grouping all these styles on one track….”Mortal Man” might be the best track Sultan’s recorded to date; “Unicorn Rainbow Odyssey” is part Whyte Boots, part ‘72 Brian Eno….Sultanic Verses will probably be one of the top five albums released this year.
–ryan (In the Red)