Hanni El Khatib, “Moonlight”
Hanni El Khatib
There is a vague sense of familiarity when listening to Moonlight, but this LP is definitely different from Hanni El Khatib’s last release, 2013’s Head in the Dirt. Where Dirt stuck to cranking out soulful blues-rock jams, Moonlight experiments with Khatib’s familiar garage-rock sound through higher production values. The songs sound cleaner, but the warble in his voice and his signature distorted guitar riffs keep Moonlight from being stripped of its essential rawness. At times it’s hard to shake away the eerie influence of other artists (ranging from The Black Keys and Iggy Pop to LCD Soundsystem) within individual songs, but strung together in the album, there’s variety in HEK’s musical range. There’s the rumbling blues of “The Teeth,” the low thumping of “Mexico,” and the disco-funk of “Two Brothers.” With Moonlight, Khatib takes his psychedelic garage-rock and expands on it with random (but authoritative) experimentation that results in a set of songs that can take a listener anywhere.