El Morabba3 seem to specialize in uncomfortable comfort music. Intense melodies submerged in haunting sounds and satiated emotions make the debut album of this Jordanian band truly different from most other sounds coming from the region.
The bulk of the tracks are nightmares, the tough realities of a world that is corrupt, polluted, and seemingly hopeless. In the third track of the album “Tahet Al Ard” (Beneath the Ground), Tareq Abu Kwaik sings: “I’ve been standing on the ground for two weeks, I’ve been talking and complaining… Refineries and energy laws and science… Don’t go up there, It’s a crazy world… I’m coming down, I’m digging… If only a car would take me far away from here!”
In another song called “Tarweej” (Promotion), written and sung by Mohammad Abdullah, the bassist croons with burning questions: “Where am I supposed to revolt? Where am I supposed to revolt? Who will change the scene when the one responsible is sitting like stone counting cash?”
With every note so tasty and rich you just can’t possibly do anything else as you listen. Even upbeat tracks like “Asheek” (On the Fence) unveil the album’s powerful, mind-reeling nature. It isn’t often that an Arab and Arabic band has the grapes to go for something so intensely prophetic.
With a sharp lack of negative space in the tracks, the occasional de-layering of sound always has a surprising effect. Sahar Khalifeh often fills in the other spaces with her responsive vocals. The effect is that you feel like you’re sinking then suddenly taking a gulp of much-needed air, although you had no idea you were sinking in the first place. Here’s a great example in the track “Tarweej” (the air arrives as marked by comment from shadiadwan):
El Morabba3’s debut album is nervy and self-contained, the product of thinking a lot harder than we’re accustomed to (and not just in thinking in music, but thinking in general). Haunting melodies, meticulously arranged lyrics, and an overwhelming sense of epicness are emotionally draining to the listener. Indeed, this album is a painful telling of the hopelessness of our lives, and the urgent need to face our complacency.
With El Morabba3, there’s not much to do but sit back and enjoy it as you “take it”.
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Bath Bayakha: Ahlan Ramadan
Good Jordanian Musician: Alaa Wardi
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El-Fer3i: Asafir Al Houla
El-Morabba3: Painfully Genius Jordanian Music That Hurts Where it Hurts Most
Brilliant and Uplifting Performance That Makes You Feel Like Not All Hope is Lost