In part, Hanni El Khatib’s second album, Head in the Dirt, is the solid blues rock that you’d expect from a Dan Auerbach production. But the twist here is that El Khatib mixes it up with so many different genres that he avoids sounding like a Black Keys knock-off. His music shifts swiftly between grimy, whiskey-swilling stompers (“Save Me”), adorable earworms set to tinkling pianos (“Penny”), and punk tempos that blend into bluesy slow jams (“Pay No Mind”). “Low” even features psychedelic sitar-guitar riffs. He turns convention into something unpredictable, and that is some raw power.
Hanni El Khatib
Head in the Dirt