Hanni El Khatib is not a man who exhausts easily, as evidenced on his latest offering ‘Savage Times’, an extensive compilation album bookending the past year of his life, during which he toured the world while writing, recording and releasing a series of EPs. Throughout the 19 songs, the Californian songwriter shows his love for bluesy rock jams and occasionally tests his stylistic bounds. It’s over an hours’ worth of material that bridges the gap toward his next significant release.
From the moment the visceral ‘Baby’s OK’ opens the album, Khatib’s energy and enthusiasm rarely stifles, as he effortlessly matches his raspy vocals with fuzz-coated riffs and a punk liveliness that feels indebted to the likes of early 2000s-era White Stripes and The Strokes. The title track and the psych-tinged ‘Mangos and Rice’ continue the trend, and despite some uninventive lyrics, he still belts out some infectious chorus’ that will likely to become staples at his often chaotic live shows.
The breezy indie-rock of ‘Paralyzed’ and ‘Gun Clap Hero’ are less raucous, but still infectious and fun, giving a summer-friendly twist to his sound, but unfortunately it isn’t long before the album starts to lull with tracks that are just passable rather than exceptional. ‘Miracle’ and ‘1 AM’ feel like amateurish interludes, and ‘Born Brown’ has the potential to be intense, but the short runtime and doomy, paranoid electronics make it feel out of place and more like a momentary outburst of frantic vocals and synths.
A few missteps and the long lifespan means ‘Savage Times’ feels slightly scatter-brained at times, but more than anything this album feels like the talented Khatib warming up for something bigger, he’s just not quite there yet.
Support Loud And Quiet from £3 per month and we'll post you our next 9 magazines
As all of us are constantly reminded, it’s getting harder for independent publishers to stay in business, which applies to Loud And Quiet more now than ever, 14 years after we first started printing a magazine that we’ve always given away for free.
Having thought about the best way to support the costs of what we do (the printing and server fees, the podcast and video production costs etc.) we’d like to ask our readers who really enjoy what we do to subscribe to our next 9 issues over the next 12 months. The cheapest we can afford to do this for is a recurring payment of £3 per month for UK subscribers. If you really start to hate it you can cancel at any time. The same goes for European subscriptions (£6 per month) and the rest of the world (£8 per month).
It’s not just a donation – you’ll receive a physical copy of our magazine through your door, and some extra perks detailed on our subscribe page. Digital subscriptions are available worldwide for £15 per year. We hope you consider this a good deal and the best way to keep Loud And Quiet in your life without its content, independence or existence suffering.