‘Moonlight’, the third release from L.A. based singer-songwriter ‘Hanni El Khatib’ is an intriguing piece of work that crosses genre’s, contains moments of irresistible songwriting and has an air of nonchalance to it that comes from an artist who probably isn’t aware just how damn cool he is. That said … you sort of get the feeling that maybe this has all been done before.
Let’s starts with the good news though. This LP is progress from 2011’s ‘Will the Guns Come Out’ and the 2103 Dan Auerbach (Black Keys) produced ‘Head in the Dirt’. In fact, the majority of this self-produced album is an enjoyable collection of confidently written music that saunters along at a nice steady swagger. There’s certainly no fluff or fillers on the LP, merely there to make up the numbers, and tracks such as ‘Mexico’ and the lyrically brilliant ‘Servant’ will undoubtedly become favourites at indie-discos for years to come. This entire product just feels more complete than its predecessors.
Even the mixed genres (rock, dance and even a nod towards the blues) aren’t an issue. The mixed-buffet of musical courses are testament to a songwriter and producer willing to take risks, twists knobs that aren’t usually touched and generally does his own thing. Anyway, albums shouldn’t necessarily be categorised under ‘Dance’, ‘Rock’ or ‘Country’ as more than anything else it’s just bloody irritating. I’m sure indie band ‘Drenge’ would agree after they were recently added to a ‘Reggae’ category … needless to say some members of the record buying public would have been surprised their purchases contained little or no messages of social protest but did have a wicked 30 second guitar solo.
However, where this album falters is with its overall originality. This type of release is just all too frequent. Granted this is an exceptional example of just such an album but one would hope that on album number four we start to associate a particular sound with El Khatib. Maybe I’m being a little too hard on the artist here but it’s purely because I can see what a talent he is. There is so much more to come from this guy as he clearly has a good ear and ability to entertain.
Will I still be listening to this album in 6 months’ time? Probably not. Would I champion its cause and that of its creator? Absolutely!
The full track-listing for ‘Moonlight’ is as follows…
Worship Song (No. 2)
You can see Hanni El Khatib live at one of these venues…