Khruangbin are funky force of nature. The American group with the Thai name are phenomenally creative, with the past two years alone bringing their break out album - 2018’s ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ - a dub re-casting, a full EP alongside Leon Bridges, and even an in-flight playlist generator.
All that activity hasn’t dulled their pen, however – ultra-minimalist and hugely suggestive, new album ‘Mordechai’ is a triumph of poise and rhythmic purpose, gently nudging their songwriting in fresh directions while retaining the intoxicating elements that made ‘Con Todo El Mundo’ such a stellar word-of-mouth success.
Opening gambit ‘First Class’ is a glacial introduction, all tone and texture, it’s cool, calm, and clear waters the perfect birthing pond for Khruangbin’s next creation. ‘Time (You And I)’ returns to familiar funky ground, yet with a neat twist – inspired by Japanese cinema, there’s a cinematic bent to their narrative songwriting thrust.
‘Father Bird, Mother Bird’ overwhelms in undulations, while ‘If There Is No Question’ beguiles with a gnomic, almost zen-like sense of peace. ‘One To Remember’ incorporates subtle dub influences, the vast possibilities of the echo chamber used to refine their palette following last year’s ‘Hasta El Cielo’ project.
‘Dearest Alfred’ has a sombre sense of belonging, while the guitar pirouettes on closer ‘Shida’ contain some Middle Eastern flourishes, billowing and falling with soft restraint.
Speckled with cultural transfusion, Khruangbin’s funk is global in its pursuit, but intensely refined. There’s little more than three musicians at work at any one time, meaning that highlights such as ‘So We Won’t Forget’ billow from speaker to speaker like smoke across a late night rooftop. It’s wonderfully suggestive, the restrained palette somehow suggesting entire worlds in the merest melodic flourish.
Intensely relaxing, wonderfully addictive, and ultra-mellow, ‘Moredechai’ is this summer’s sunset record.
Words: Robin Murray
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