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- Habibi by Habibi
9/10 Brian Staff review, 21 February 2014
Cor, this is a real sweet platter. Habibi (apparently an Arabic term for “affection”) are four Brooklyn, NY-based lovelies making pure, simple stripped-back and delightfully harmonic gems in the vein of Frankie Rose, Grass Widow and like fellow NY-ers Vivian Girls, similarly inspired by all those beautiful old 60’s beat-girl combos such as the Shangri-Las. Healthy spots apparent of the legendary Raincoats and cult artist April March of ‘Chick Habit’ fame too.
There’s no particular re-moulding of the wheel here, this self-titled debut is just a particularly sweetly played and charmingly sung collection of classic indie pop with a real warm, full production and a truly invigorating atmosphere. Their closely entwined vocals are honeyed and homely, gracing each lightly tribalist track with genuine soul and wonder. There’s a strong Vaselines-esque innocence to a couple of numbers which particularly enhances the album’s classic Motown-esque charm. They even save the couple of more ballad-y slowies until the end of each side. Beautifully sequed in a totally classic fashion.
Despite the deceivingly simplistic nature of these adorable songs, they’re incredibly involving and tightly played without losing their naturalist innocent gait and a great deal of these songs will surely creep right under your skin for all time. ‘Tomboy’, for instance, is one of the greatest songs I’ve heard this year (and there are a lot of truly brilliant tunes here!) That they leave it until almost the album’s conclusion proves that they have an absolutely natural gift for forging the dinkiest of primal pop! I.e the no filler, all killer rule not many long players have.
Unlike Vivian Girls and their notoriously endearing shambolic nature, these four ladies led by the exotically named Rahill Jamalifard seem to possess a spectral ability to make the most out of a normally quite sparse and bare-boned sound and technically appear more fully formed rather than the often merely tentatively naive practitioners within this genre.
‘Habibi’ is ultimately a rather special take on an otherwise well-worn yet hugely adored sound. Something a little bit magic about this, we all like it lots here (quite a rarity) and I’m gonna bag one for sure.
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