“There’s always a desire for transcendence in our music,” says Habibi’s Rahill Jamalifard, “a desire to go beyond our limitations. Whether it’s spiritual or physical or emotional, it feels like this album really embodies that search for something more.”

Indeed, Dreamachine, Habibi’s mesmerizing new record releasing on Kill Rock Stars, is a work of sonic transcendence itself, a genre-bending swirl of analog and digital elements that rises beyond the critically acclaimed five-piece’s garage rock roots to arrive at a singular, spellbinding sound they’ve been chasing for more than a decade. Produced by Tyler Love and longtime collaborator Jay Heiselmann and featuring MGMT multi-instrumentalist James Richardson, the collection draws on a mix of post-punk, experimental pop, and vintage disco, calling to mind everything from Tom Verlaine and Diana Ross to Kate Bush and Kim Deal, all filtered through the band’s shared love of Middle Eastern psych music. The songs here are their own distinct worlds, each an immersive quest in pursuit of something greater, and the band’s performances are relentless and hypnotic to match, driven by lush synthesizers, sinewy guitars, and a muscular rhythm section. The result is a record as fearless as it is enthralling, an alternatingly fierce and joyous work that ascends to new heights as it reckons with desire and escape, love and surrender, rebellion and reality.

“So much of this album is about getting out of the chaos of your life and reorganizing your mind,” explains Lenny Lynch. “Maybe it’s blasting off in a spaceship, maybe it’s getting out on the dancefloor. Everybody’s got so much anxiety about the future right now, but it’s so important, even if it’s only for a moment, to find ways to be present in your body and know that you’re going to be alright.”

Co-founded by Detroit natives Jamalifard (lead vocals, synth) and Lynch (guitar, synth, backup vocals), Habibi got its start in Brooklyn in 2011, turning heads immediately with their blistering blend of eras and cultures. The group’s 2014 self-titled debut was a critical smash, praised by The New Yorker for infusing “the Colgate-white glisten of sixties-girl-group pop with an uncensored edge” and prompting NME to hail them as “one of New York’s most exciting bands.” Pitchfork raved that their 2018 follow-up EP, Cardamom Garden, “shed rigid definitions of what constitutes American music” with its mix of psych-rock and Iranian folklore (complete with lyrics sung in Farsi), and NPR’s All Things Considered profiled the band around the release of their sophomore full-length, 2020’s Anywhere But Here, which explored darker, more portentous sonic territory.

AGENT: Polly Miles

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