Generally favorable reviews - based on 27 Critics

Critic score distribution:
  1. Positive: 24 out of 27
  2. Negative: 0 out of 27
Buy On
  1. Oct 23, 2013
    It’s huge fun and sounds just as big.
  2. Oct 16, 2013
    With lyrics in the languages of Turkey, Kurdistan and Iraq all included, with the express aim of engaging listeners throughout the region, Souleyman’s mission to bring a more positive view of his country, and its thrilling musical forms, to a wider audience continues unabated.
  3. The Wire
    Dec 10, 2013
    It's simply clean, so the outstanding performances come over strongly. [Oct 2013, p.49]
  4. Nov 15, 2013
    It's certainly Omar Souleyman's most user-friendly listening experience. Hebden's democratic production style and mixing board economy, valuing every instrument equally, makes it less relentless than its ancestors.
  5. 80
    The beat is strong; the music is fused enough.
  6. Oct 30, 2013
    Whatever you read into it, this is powerful, living dance music, above all else.
  7. Oct 30, 2013
    It’s a crossover record rich with cultural touchstones.
  8. Oct 28, 2013
    Approach this record with an open mind and you'll be surprised at how easily you can get caught up in it.
  9. Oct 24, 2013
    Scales are Middle Eastern, obviously; tempos range from up to mid-plus; the programmed drums generate rhythms that few American tub-thumpers could map, much less replicate. There's far more variety in what Sa'id plays than in what Souleyman sings--flute sounds, an orchestra once. But Souleyman's intensity nails it.
  10. 80
    A couple of slower-paced moments, ‘Khattaba’ and ‘Mawal Jamar’, drag a little, but 'Warni Warni' is undoubtedly the best Syrian-folk techno banger you’ll hear this--or any other--year.
  11. Oct 16, 2013
    Thanks to the sheer joy with which he performs it (produced here for the first time by Kieran Hebden), it’s irresistibly, inevitably satisfying.
  12. Mojo
    Oct 14, 2013
    Indubitably, worth the oxide it's been taped on. [Nov 2013, p.86]
  13. Q Magazine
    Oct 14, 2013
    Quite unlike any other record you'll hear this year. [Nov 2013, p.116]
  14. Uncut
    Oct 14, 2013
    Wenu Wenu is at last the genuine article. That it also captures the chaos of his live show is no small achievement either. [Nov 2013, p.80]
  15. Oct 14, 2013
    Wenu Wenu cleans up Souleyman's music just enough to place it in an expanded musical and sonic context that creates a new frontier without sacrificing its power.
  16. 75
    This is a record that moves and moves.
  17. 75
    While the album itself bleeds originality, the solos themselves are almost interchangeable, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing.
  18. Oct 23, 2013
    Wenu Wenu's success lies in its ability to cleave memorable passages from homogenized surroundings.
  19. Oct 25, 2013
    Dabke lives or dies by its ability to make people move, and although Souleyman is no-frills, and borderline gruff compared to other dabke performers, there’s something in his stentorian singing that’s irresistible.
  20. Oct 29, 2013
    Wenu Wenu does a decent job presenting the veteran singer, but your desire to return to this disc hinges upon your enthusiasm for that instrument's unique sound.
  21. Oct 22, 2013
    Occasional Allah invocations notwithstanding, this is party music, to be sure--it's a hot, fresh and, given our domestic Arab-phobia, radical sound.
  22. Oct 21, 2013
    Wenu Wenu lacks touches that give a Souleyman show its full charisma--the shouts to and from the audience, the presence of poet Mahmoud Harbi, who whispers to Souleyman the next line to sing, and Souleyman’s hipster-pleasing visual identity — a wiry chain-smoker in red keffiyeh and shades. But the production by Kieran Hebden (Four Tet) is smart and clean, and the songs offer range.
  23. Oct 14, 2013
    On Wenu Wenu, everything is present and correct, and that's part of the problem: it feels polished.
  24. Nov 1, 2013
    Wenu Wenu is a jubilant seven-track song suite that showcases the genre’s rhythmic and lyrical versatility.
  25. Nov 8, 2013
    This is supposed to be dance music and with that in mind, this is some rather bumping stuff. With headphones on, however, you can't help but wonder where Souleyman's music really wants to go.
  26. Oct 30, 2013
    Whether this album will find the charismatic Syrian expanding his audience beyond a cult concern remains to be seen, but such well-crafted high-energy dance exotica as the title track and Yagbuni should ensure that Souleyman’s star continues to shine.
  27. Oct 21, 2013
    Happily for purists, Hebden doesn't tamper with the duo's mojo, allowing tracks such as the Kurdish Warni Warni to play themselves out in an organic frenzy.

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