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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 14 December 2018

Album review: Assi Al Hallani's new effort should satisfy the faithful

Habib El Alb is full of well produced masculine folk tunes that have been responsible for the artist's fame

Habib El Alb by Assi El Hallani. Courtesy Rotana
Habib El Alb by Assi El Hallani. Courtesy Rotana

After years of being hailed “the knight of the Arabic song", Assi Al Hallani has decided to look the part.

On the cover of his new album, the Lebanese singer is pictured mounting a horse with a stern expression on his face.

It works in a way, as Al Hallani as a veteran performer is rarely concerned with chasing pop trends. A few updated production tweaks aside, his albums are mostly a blend of Lebanese folk songs and dabka workouts delivered with that super-masculine husky tenor.

Habib El Alb continues in that vein, but what makes it slightly standout is some of the newfound richness in the compositions.

The title track and lead single is all melodrama, with a wide-screen production incorporating flamenco guitar styling, hand claps and soaring strings.

Al Rakam Moghlak is more on a Khaleeji bent, with its rollicking rhythms and call and response vocals. While the slow-burning Rejal is all masculinity - over its purposeful rhythm Al Hallani espouses the importance of a man maintaining his promise, especially when it relates to matters of the heart.

While not groundbreaking, Habib El Alb is exactly how you want your knight to sound.