Stripping his sound right down to the bone on 2011’s solo debut ‘Will The Guns Come Out’, Hanni El Khatib’s brand of blues-soaked minimalism is far more complex than meets the eye. Sure, its Dan Auerbach-directed follow-up ‘Head In The Dirt’ may have walked a similar path, but the guitar is an instrument forever attempting to shake off the shackles placed upon it.
Which is perhaps why ‘Moonlight’ sounds so… weird. Sure, ‘Chasin’’ is reminiscent of The Black Keys in its pared-down boogie, but for every 12-bar workout there’s a true oddity. ‘Melt Me’ is like Ariel Pink fronting ZZ Top, while ‘All Black’ delves into Sabbath-style sludge.
Closer ‘Two Brothers’ perhaps (belatedly) sets the tone for the whole album. Opening with a tinny, almost post-punk guitar line, the growling vocals betray a definite darkness. Almost reminiscent of lost New Yorkers ESG, it twists and turns with a rare abandon. A curious oddity, ‘Moonlight’ indicates that there’s far more to Hanni El Khatib than meets the eye.
Words: Robin Murray
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