Mashrou' Leila: El Hal Romancy (CD Review)

Mashrou' Leila's second CD: El Hal Romancy

Album Review
Reviewed by Ramzi Salti, Ph.D.
Reviewed 2011-11-03 

Mashrou’ Leila El Hal Romancy

--All Tracks are FCC CLEAN—

This is the second album by the ultra hip Lebanese band Mashrou’ Leila (The Leila Project) and, like their first one, continues the group’s experimentation with alternative music set to Arabic lyrics. Released in the summer of 2011,each track on this EP combines strong vocal acrobatics by the lead vocalist (Hamed Sinno) accompanied by Haig Papazian (violin), Omaya Malaeb (keyboard) and various other instruments played by the rest of the band members (Ibrahim Bad, Carl Gerges, Andre Chedid, Firas Abou Fakher).

*1. “El Mouqadima” [The Intro] showcases Hamed Sinno’s strong vocals as he laments about his beloved. He cries out “habibiiiii” in a tormented yet seductive way, all is a semi-acapella fashion..
*2. “”Habibi” ([My Love] has the same lyrics and melody as the first track only it is with a fast tempo and strong electric guitar and violin sounds..
3. “Inni Mneeh” [I am OK] is the only ballad on this album. It talks about losing everything in one’s life and losing hope in changing the world.
4. “Imm El Jacket” [The Girl with the Jacket] is a song about a girl who dresses in a ‘manly’ way and who lives her life in a free way—defying ‘feminine’ stereotypes in Lebanon and beyond
5. “Wajih” [Face] sounds like Pink Floyd + the Doors with Arabic Lyrics. Loud, hard electric guitar sound, lyrics about living in a world of garbage and filth.
*6. “El Hal Romancy” [The Solution Is Roamntic] is the title track and the first released single from this album. It is instantly likeable and begins with a slow rhythmic tempo only to climactically build up to strong violin sounds and classical music set to band music.
*My picks: 1,2 & 6 Ramzi Salti

Track Listing
1.El Mouqadima4.Imm El Jacket
3.Inni Mneeh6.El Hal Romancy

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