Somewhere there’s a summer holiday where people are poolside, books are being read, daytime naps are encouraged and the stereo is always playing Khruangbin. And I want to go to there!
That there’s not only a following for this Houston trio – but it’s a big following, their seemingly ‘small’ music was soft-blasting from arenas ahead of all the lockdowns – gives me hope in this ravaged fucking disgrace of a world. It’s all going to be okay. One day. Keep Calm And Kruangbin. I can’t even say the band’s name out loud – wouldn’t know where to start, well, I mean ‘K’ obviously. But where to next…?
Mordechai is the band’s third full-lengther, there’s EPs and remixes and DVD-length concert clips on the YouTube and wherever else so it all sorta blurs. But this is a band only three albums deep and never quite repeating themselves but sticking largely in one tempo and mood spot: Fucking Chill.
Mordechai is different in that the band was largely wordless ahead of this one, often vocal-less completely. But here they all have a go at vocals and sometimes lyrics too. This means when they get a bit disco-tinged, as on Time (You And I) they start to move towards Warpaint’s mellower side. This, also, is no bad thing at all.
But the Khruangbin you know and – presumably – love (or else why read down this far?) is absolutely here; so defined is their sound now, even though it’s a grab-bag of instrumental hip-hop, surf-rock and Latino groove. Take a song like Pelota, you’d have to go back to the other records to check it hasn’t already been recorded as an instrumental.
And that sun-kissed mellow-burst of guitar is there, all spidery and wonderful on Father Bird, Mother Bird, all Carlos Santana-meets-Joe Pass on Connaissais de Face, all soulful psychedelia on dreamy opener, First Class.
All the elements that have shaped this band are here, those lolloping bass lines, the trim, taut hip-hop derived drum grooves. Three albums deep it’s not quite the nice surprise it once was. But if this is your starting point you have a great small back-catalogue to go back to and if you’ve enjoyed the previous records there’s no real reason not to enjoy this.
Now roll on that mythical summer holiday…
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