Hanni El Khatib

Head in the Dirt

Friday, June 7, 2013

In part, Hanni El Khatib’s second album, Head in the Dirt, is the solid blues rock that you’d expect from a Dan Auerbach production. But the twist here is that El Khatib mixes it up with so many different genres that he avoids sounding like a Black Keys knock-off. His music shifts swiftly between grimy, whiskey-swilling stompers (“Save Me”), adorable earworms set to tinkling pianos (“Penny”), and punk tempos that blend into bluesy slow jams (“Pay No Mind”). “Low” even features psychedelic sitar-guitar riffs. He turns convention into something unpredictable, and that is some raw power.

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