The Texan trio return with more groovy global sounds
Feeling stressed? Are the woes of another grey, cold winter weighing heavy on your shoulders? Do you need an escape? Do you need sunshine? Well, you could do worse than drift away with the trouble-shunning, sun-worshipping vibemasters Khruangbin. On their first album, 2015’s ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’, the international cratedigging trio ploughed heavily into the depths of obscure Thai funk, creating a dreamy, largely instrumental sound that mixed up extreme muso geekery with their enviable talent. Three years later and they’ve spun the globe again, this time landing upon the joys of 1970s Iranian funk and soul, weaving it into straight outta Bristol 1990s breakbeats (‘Cómo Me Quieres’) and early hip-hop grooves (‘Maria Tambien’), coming on like DJ Shadow off on a backpacking gap year with Gilles Peterson.
Made up of Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar) and Donald ‘DJ’ Johnson (drums), the band are simultaneously tight as hell as languid as a lazy midsummer night when you’ve had one too many fruity ciders. ‘Cómo Te Quiero’ is a dreamy case in point, all swooning, wobbly croons and reverb-soaked guitar wobbles, while ‘Evan Finds The Third Room’ ups the pace and brings in some perky disco flourishes and ‘A Hymn’ a sweet soul sensation. Though all their songs hover around the four-minute mark, at their heart, Khruangbin – which means ‘airplane’ in Thai – are a jam band, all endless grooves and hypnotic soundscapes that instantly take you out of whatever happens to be getting on your tits at that very minute in time. The overall lack of lyrics – the most repeated line on the 10-track record is a simple, wistful “oooh” – is only a positive, letting the listener get fully, deeply lost in the band’s fertile psychedelic world. Now is the time to take a trip with Khruangbin.