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Album Review: Habibi – “Anywhere But Here”

Album Review: Habibi – “Anywhere But Here”

Photo by Bailey Rob

Since 2011, Habibi has been blessing us with their chill blend of ’60s garage surf-rock with a twist. Think Warpaint meets Best Coast, with the added benefit of speaking a second language—Farsi. Lead singer Rahill Jamalifard and guitarist Lenaya Lynch—former Detroiters—now reside in Brooklyn with the rest of their bandmates: Erin Campbell, Karen Isabel and Leah Beth Fishman. First generation Iranian-American, Jamalifard seamlessly weaves Farsi through her albums and EPs. Growing up with musically inclined parents, Jamalifard considers herself lucky to have learned how to speak Farsi when other friends around her were
pushed towards assimilation. This cultural advantage busts open any stereotypes surrounding Habibi’s musical genre without ever being openly political.

Following 2018’s EP Cardamom Garden, their second album Anywhere But Here takes listeners through cross-terrain soundscapes, making it the perfect addition to a spring album collection. Anywhere But Here is fresh, with just the right amount of catchy rhythm and vocals, with new elements teased out by producer Alex Epton (Jamie xx, Vampire Weekend). Lead track, “Angel
Eyes” sinks its hooks in with the repetitive chorus. “Come My Habibi”, an entrancing track written in 2012, was released as the first single.

In our current state of national affairs, this album, alongside Habibi’s general approach to music, whisks listeners away from the mess with blunt, yet gentle thoughts that always circle back to friendship—an important concept in this all girl band. The theme runs rampant throughout their discography, proving that Habibi will be around for the long haul.