Release Date: Sep 26, 2011
Record label: Innovative Leisure
Hanni El Khatib’s debut album, The Guns Will Come Out, is an anthem album for those ever caught sitting on a curb during the day, smoking a cigarette, scheming something irresponsible and riding out a buzz. Like a well-ordered classic, the whiskey-soaked vocals and intentionally rough instrumentals inspire a motivation that is not of the Twittering era: it speaks to the barefoot babes running through the streets, bottle in hand, fist raised. The tracks jump in range between genres, but for the most part you can find a consistent punk sound woven throughout.
Previously a creative director for a skateboard fashion label and a designer for an advertising agency, Hanni El Khatib, a first-generation American son of Filipino/Palestinian immigrants, states that his raw back-to-basics sound is designed for "anyone who has ever been shot or hit by a train." The multi-instrumentalist sure knows how to sell his music, but his debut album, Will the Guns Come Out, proves that there's more to him than just attention-grabbing soundbites. Those who have seen the recent Nike promo, which features his raucous glam rock interpretation of Funkadelic's "I Got a Thing," will already be aware of his retro rough-and-ready style, but there's plenty more where that came from. The abrasive "Build.
Hanni El Katib has been touring relentlessly behind the material on his debut, Will the Guns Come Out for more than two years now. Consider a sampling if the list of things Hanni has been up to since completing the album: The official video for the sunny-sounding, doo-wop-inflected kiss-off "Dead Wrong" came out last June. He's toured in support of Florence and the Machine and played Bonnaroo; he’s also played everything from food truck festivals in LA to SXSW; created a zine to accompany the album, which came packaged with a pre-release version of the CD that at one point made its way into the inventory of the boutique Collette in Paris.
San Francisco-raised El Khatib says his debut album is "for anyone who's ever been shot or hit by a train - knife-fight music". A former marketing/advertising type, he's probably never experienced anything remotely similar himself, but his infatuation with bad-boy retro-masculinity has led him to fashion his sound around 50s garage rock. Songs are taut and brief, the guitar/drum arrangements stripped to absolute basics and El Khatib squawks his lines as if his switchblade is giving him grief.
With the title and the first song off of Hanni El Khatib’s Innovative Leisure debut, the eclectic San Francisco rocker poses a question: “Will the guns come out?” His paranoid inquiry lends an element of suspense at the record’s outset, but none of the songs wind up as startling as the title might indicate. Instead, Will The Guns Come Out is a collection of pleasantly rough and catchy minimalist-rock tunes. El Khatib, an avid skateboarder, has worked with skateboard fashion label HUF and saw a boost in popularity after his cover of Parliament’s “I Got A Thing” was featured in a Nike skate and surf ad.