BY JULIET CANGELOSI
Hanni El Khatib’s Savage Times is a true taste of 21st century Americana, mashing together garage rock, blues, funk, and occasional hip hop influences in a record that is as nostalgic as it is innovative. Its tracks were initially released on five EPs over the course of 2016, as El Khatib aimed to cut through the pressures of writing for the purpose of a specific album concept by producing and sharing music in small doses exactly as it came to him. The best of the EPs (and some newer material) were eventually compiled into Savage Times, resulting in a full-length that follows El Khatib’s creative and emotional processing throughout the year. In “Paralyzed,” El Khatib manages to turn a song about panic attacks into a disco. “Gun Clap Hero” and “Born Brown” have a similar effect: taking heavier topics such as gun violence or life as a first-generation American and repurposing them into a groovy jam or a cathartic, punk-ish vent. Drastically changing tone and mood from track to track, the album’s most unifying quality is that precisely because nothing goes together, it somehow all goes together.