Independent Clauses | n. —unusual words about underappreciated music

Quick Hit: Khruangbin

July 28, 2020

Khruangbin‘s Mordechai is an even-more distilled version of their vision for maximally-chilled funk / dub. Where 2018’s Con Todo El Mundo could have quite a lot of pep in its step, 2019’s Hasta El Cielo (Con Todo El Mundo in Dub) was a truly laidback concept that sent bass to the front and the guitars way to the back. Mordechai takes that latter approach for the majority of the trio’s effort here: opener “First Class” features reverb-heavy, lightly jazzy guitar; simple percussion; prominent bass walks; and distant, laconic vocals. Follow-on “Time (You and I)” picks up the pace by bringing the lead vocals back into lead status and focusing in on a more traditionally pop structure. It’s still almost six minutes long, so it’s not exactly compressed, but it’s more recognizably pop.

These two tracks next to each other frame the approach of Mordechai: dub tracks laidback to the point of deconstruction (“One to Remember,” “Father Bird, Mother Bird”) and focused pop structures with melodic lead vocals (the excellent genre-mashing single “Pelota,” the beautiful almost-disco of “So We Won’t Forget”). I’ve been leaning heavily toward instrumental work these past few years, but I have to say that I found myself gravitating toward the more focused pop structures. Still, this is the sort of record that you can put on during a lazy day and have it reflect the room perfectly. It can also help you get chill if you aren’t chill. And even the chillest Khruangbin is better than no Khruangbin.

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Stephen Carradini and Lisa Whealy write reviews of instrumental, folk, and singer/songwriter music. We write about those trying to make the next step in their careers and established artists.

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