Hanni El Khatib - Human Fly

El Khatib takes the psychedelic out of psychobilly… but not the psycho.


Hanni El Khatib has a knack for creating interesting cover versions of classic songs. His take on ‘Heartbreak Hotel’ saw him transform the song from a lounge blues ballad into a funereal banjo-driven folk lament. He also rendered Funkadelic’s ‘I Got A Thing’ unrecognisable as a thrashy punk number. With that in mind, it may come as a surprise when El Khatib stays comparatively faithful to The Cramps’ ‘Human Fly’.

However, where the reverb-laden surf rock riff of the original was the signature of the original, El Khatib delivers the song with his stomping blues-rock fuzz guitar at the fore. The Cramps’ version sounds like a serial killer hiding in a haunted house, El Khatib’s version sounds like he’s about to turn into a monster.

His dry vocals have a human desperation, like he’s becoming weary at fighting his own urges. It contrasts with Lux Interior’s reliably deranged delivery, which has a sadistic relish. Though it is hard to look past the original, El Khatib has given this song its own very distinct character, which is thrilling in its own right.
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