Album review: Hanni El Khatib, Will The Guns Come Out

By Scott Kara

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Cover for Will the Guns Come Out. Photo / Supplied
Cover for Will the Guns Come Out. Photo / Supplied

Hanni El Khatib whips up a sound that has the propulsive slacker punch of the Black Keys, the distorted blues-infused power of Jack White, and a wild Jon Spencer wail. Which isn't a bad combination, but then as the reckless sounding Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter nestles into his cover of Elvis' Heartbreak Hotel he takes on a Tom Waits-meets-eerie Nick Cave lilt too. Then there's his glam and punky reimagining of Funkadelic's I Got A Thing, which is included as a bonus track here. It's deliciously raw and often abrasive stuff.

Essentially a one man band, except when he requires a drummer live and on many of the songs here, his debut album comes after only having a handful of tunes to his name since starting to take his music more seriously in the last few years.

But it's the sort of seat-of-your-pants garage blues rock that sounds like it's about to fall apart, but never does - and El Khatib delivers it with an unbridled and effortless freshness.

Come Alive has an acoustic Psycho Killer graunch to it, with a rustic stomp driving it along, Loved One is a sparse holler and yelp of a track that reveals how beautifully unhinged El Khatib can be, and on You Rascal You he combines the White Stripes swagger with the Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds lurch to perfection. But that's the thing, while these tunes are potent, Khatib needs to make them his own rather than sounding like a mash-up of many who have gone before him.

Stars: 3.5/5
Verdict: Fine rowdy electric

- TimeOut

- NZ Herald

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