By Kieran Webber
Hanni El Khatib’s latest release ‘Savage Times’ is the entire collection of the five EP’s released in 2016 as well as a handful of new and exclusive tracks, the expansive project that is bundled into one LP is an ambitious one but the 19 track LP is an exciting and ever changing journey into the musical brain of Hanni.
Across the album you are subjected to a wide variety of sounds, but the most distinctive and recurring sound is one of dirty, whiskey fuelled blues rock ‘n’ roll with a simplistic yet effective edge. The sort of music you can swing your hips too whilst it injects you with a healthy dose of sass, the rioting percussion through opening track ‘Baby’s OK’ and ‘Mango’s & Rice’ is enough to raise your pulse and fill you with attitude.
‘Savage Times’ also tackles a mixture of issues such as race, particularly in the thrashing ‘Born Brown’ which appears to reflect on his Palestinian and Filipino roots. Hanni also comments on the USA’s dangerous relationship with guns in ‘Gun Clap Hero’.
One of Hanni El Khatib‘s strengths is crafting songs that surround his personal issues and ‘Savage Times’ is no exception, in fact It could be argued that this the most laid bare he has ever been and it is also the most experimental the artist has been. It is clear that Hanni has put a lot of himself into this record, and it shows through the music.
The 19 track LP can be a lot to swallow due to it’s wide variety of genres that Hanni dances through, although he does it in a masterful manner it can become convoluted. However, it cannot be denied that it keeps the album fresh, for example as we come to the end of the album with ‘This I know’ a sultry, organ lead swinging rock track is followed by the funk riddled ‘Freak Freely’. Little surprises like this are found all over the album, which some people will love and others will hate, either way there is something for everyone.