Hanni El Khatib - Will The Guns Come Out
The short version of this review of Hanni El Khatib’s debut - “If you like The White Stripes, you’re likely to enjoy this album. If you don’t, then you’re more likely not to.”
There’s no lying that Will The Guns Come Out isn’t fun. It’s filled with catchy ‘Detroit’ blues sounding balls of funbags. From the eery opener, ‘Will The Guns Come Out’, to the very much ‘Hello Operator’ inspired ‘You Rascal You’, this album is very much drenched in the same influences that swarmed over early releases by The White Stripes. Is that a bad thing? Only if you really don’t like The White Stripes.
Oddly enough, some great songs here are the ones which don’t really lend themselves to the artist’s obvious influences. Songs such as ‘Dead Wrong’ sounds a lot more like the lovechild of The Beach Boys and The Strokes. ‘Wait. Wait. Wait.’, the album highlight is a beautiful number, only let down by it’s closing segment, where Khatib tries (and fails) to channel the soul vocals which often accompany such stripped down numbers.
The truth is, Hanni El Khatib is at his best when he’s just, plain old schoolin’, rocking out. ‘You Rascal You’ is a cool number which sees him using a catchy vocal line around a simple chord progression, interspersed with guitar licks which seem to come from within the song itself, instead of being forced upon the song against its wishes. Although largely derivative of other works, even if Khatib doesn’t wholly seem to channel the whole ‘spirit’ of the blues sound, the results are enjoyable, if not wholly believable.
Whereas bands such as Cold War Kids took the template created by The White Stripes and (for better or worse) changed it enough to create a distinct sound, Hanni El Khatib does very little to mess with well-written formula. An alright album, dampened by familiarity, buoyed by fun.
Purchase and listen
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