To me, Khruangbin’s music has throughout its years evoked a strong sense of nostalgia. Whether that’s remembering and reliving the moments I’ve been hiking in the mountains or gone on road trips with family as a kid. The Houston, Texas group, consisting of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald Johnson on drums, have become one of the most innovative and exciting groups to come out in recent years. Their psych-rock, Thai funk infused sound has become a revelation to many, and albums like their now-classic 2018 album Con Todo El Mundo have brought a new kind of soulful, guitar and bass-driven energy that was really needed at that time. The talented and mesmeric trio are back with their third studio album titled Mordechai and it is as equally as psychedelic and groovy as it’s predecessor.
Where Con Todo El Mundo felt more explosive and grandiose in sound, with its lavish and emphatic guitar grooves and melodies, Mordechai feels more subdued but equally as textured and mesmeric as anything they’ve put out. The slow-paced, dub-influenced opener “First Class” sets the tone of the album with incredible guitar leads and a slow-paced, bass-heavy groove that carries a heavy beat. Laura’s vocals are beautifully angelic throughout this track and really set the tone for the rest of the album. “Time (You and I)” is a more dynamic cut, with psychedelic, groovy guitar leads and heavy drums that bring an infectious, dance-fueled dynamism throughout. The reggae-inspired “Connaissais de Face” is terrific as well, with subdued, ethereal vocals that add to the depth to this animated, dynamic track. “Father Bird, Mother Bird” is an ethereal, bass-heavy track with dominant guitar leads that just sound so soulful, while “If There is No Question” has an infectious groove to it led by piercing guitar leads and drumming throughout. The punchy, Latin-inspired guitar-led groove of “Pelota” is another highlight for me, and deserves to be longer. The dub-influenced “One to Remember” is another mesmeric, groovy moment with bass and sub-bass that creates a deeply groovy and funky sound. “Dearest Alfred” has soulful, subdued vocals and ethereal synths and guitar leads that capture a potent, emotional sound. “So We Won’t Forget” and “Shida” end the album off with dynamic, drum and bass-heavy rhythms that capture the dynamic and eclectic groove of the group beautifully.
On Mordechai, Khruangbin have been able to create more of a subdued, rhythmic album with moments of pure funky brilliance. Inspired by Thai funk, Latin rock and psychedelic soul, the group’s sound defies characterisation, as they continue expanding their sound further and further. It’s an excellent album, and one you should definitely support!