Habibi are venturing into the unknown. While their self-titled debut combined the Colgate-white glisten of sixties-girl-group pop with an uncensored edge, their sophomore album responds to a current global climate of unease, weaving colorful 60’s refrains with moodier, more expansive sonic textures. ‘Anywhere but Here’ was created with Alex Epton in the XL Recordings studios with the ability to flesh out sounds and nuances which deepened the band’s creative chemistry, a far shout from the DIY 20-somethings musicians-in-the-making who recorded in each other’s bedrooms. With time on their side, Habibi were able to experiment with instruments like the 12-string guitar, ney flute, vibraphone and sitar, and call back previous collaborators such as tombak percussionist Yahya Alkhansa, adding Middle Eastern flourishes that continue to tell the story of their history and heritage.
Habibi are aware that their relationship with one another has surpassed any relationship with a guy, and this celebration of female friendship through trying times of doubt and uncertainty can be seen through the deliberate structures, warm synchronization of guitars, and lyricisms that echo throughout. It’s easy to see the ongoing dialogue between old friends that add their own essential components of perspective and support to the record. The songs that make up 'Anywhere But Here' pose if not universal solutions, then honest perspectives on navigating a place that can feel more unfamiliar by the day, and with this album, Habibi acknowledge that perhaps the only solace to be found is that, if you share with your friend a spotlight at the front of a stage or a seat at the back of the van, you’ll never truly be alone.
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