Has the Bomp label ditched its West Coast psych fixation of recent years and taken a sharp detour back into the lo-fi section of the garage? If so, it's a Good Thing because it's prompted the release of this unpolished gem from Mark Sultan, Los Sexarenos member and aka King Khan (in his soul configuration). He's calling himself BBQ, when in one-man band mode and that's just fine. He can call himself The Mad Mullah for all I care, if the output is as superb as this.

It's as unimposing an album as you'll ever hear in its approach, lacking a zot of polish but dripping raw and soulful rock and roll. Live, Sultan apparently plugs in a battered guitar, wraps a tambourine around his neck, kicks the shit out of a rudimentary drum kit (with both feet!) and goes for it. And that's exactly how it sounds, with just the slightest touch of reverb on the vocals and bottom end.

This is the warm feel of Buddy Holly meeting Hasil Adkins, Carl Perkins and a lucid Legendary Stardust Cowboy around the 18-gallon keg on a cold night, with a fire raging in their bellies as well as the upturned oil drum on the ground beside them. Sultan plays a tough guitar and lets his natural voice shine through.

Unashamedly retro and proudly rocking, BBQ delivers a dozen tunes with a suitably raw cover of the Stones' "Out of Time" among them. (There's also a Slim Rhodes' song credited but it looks to have been dropped at the last moment). The BBQ originals draw from diverse wells - rockabilly and hillbilly country prominent among them. Where the last King Khan album, for mine, was a little too faithful to its soul roots, BBQ shakes rather than stirs the ingredients. The cocktail packs a punch without relying on massive distortion or fancy tricks. You shouldn't need umbrellas and fruit impaled on swizzles sticks to have a good drink.

There's a heartfelt message in the liner notes that says, in part: "I hope this fuckin' world implodes soon and takes all you competitive back-stabbing wannabe rock-star poseur fuckheads to a better place". Could you say it better?

You might be over the one-man band thing, but give this a go. Sizzling.
– The Barman