'Pamplemousse Presse' is the first proper solo album by Khalid Hanifi. Khalid has been the driving force for such underrated bands as Map Of The World, Kiss Me Screaming, and Maypops. A masterful popsmith in the vein of Frank Black, Matthew Sweet and Fountains of Wayne, Khalid has been putting words to music for over two decades in the Ann Arbor, MI area. The album was recorded at Big Sky Recording (Ann Arbor, MI), and produced with lush economy by Khalid and Geoff Michael . Khalid's songs are tight and concise, relying more on strong melody than studio heroics. This is definitely the logical step to follow Maypops stunning "Spirits Of Agnew", with Khalid expanding on his considerable classic, yet distinctive, songwriting sensibility. Lyrically, Khalid infuses his ofttimes seemingly light-hearted meditations with triple-thick sarcasm, heart-pounding honesty, and a dollop of wit. Stylistically, songs range from Dixieland shuffle, to surf-twang, to r & b churns, to blues undulation, all the while led by Khalid's vexatious crooning. Songs like "Don't Hurry Me" unfold with Black Francis' progressive grace, while "July" and "Idiot Box" play out like Fountains Of Wayne deep cuts. "Hard To Believe," "I'm Gonna Dedicate This One To You," and "I Wouldn't Bet The Farm" show Khalid teaming up with former Map of the World bandmate (and sibling) Sophia Hanifi, thus proving the Beach Boys formula that family=perfect harmony. Pamplemousse's exquisite compositions are expertly rendered by the same rhythm section that anchored Spirits Of Agnew: Vinnie Dombrowski (Sponge, Crud) and his precision kinetic kit work, and Oni Werth, (Map of the World, Kiss Me Screaming, Maypops, Fubar) whose inventive, rock solid foundation has been pulsing under Khalid's compositions since the days of Map of the World. Jim Carey (Dick Siegel and the Brandos, Fubar) also provides a solid, tasteful back beat on three tracks. Perhaps the most revelatory contribution to the mix is the ultra fine guitar work of George Bedard (George Bedard and the Kingpins), whose playing here ranges from the delicate early jazz melodicism featured on Blues In Diane, to the gut-bucket, menacing slide work that drives Only Human, and many points in between. Chris Benjey, who cut his teeth as a session player at Muscle Shoals under the legendary Barry Beckett, rounds out the lineup with his masterful grand and Wurlitzer electric piano work. An immersive songwriter's album from start to finish, 'Pamplemousse Presse' is another solid step down a well hewn path by Khalid Hanifi. Grab your grapefruit juice and have a listen.
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