Khruangbin & Leon Bridges – Texas Sun (2020)
FLAC (tracks) 24-bit/96 kHz | Time – 20:55 minutes | 419 MB | Genre: Alternative, Indie
Studio Master, Official Digital Download | Front Cover | © Dead Oceans
Defying easy definitions, Houston’s Khruangbin (Thai for “airplane,” or more literally, “engine fly”) soar through influences as diverse as Thai pop, Morricone westerns, dub reggae and surf guitar with a constant undercurrent of 70s American soul. The result is an original hybrid awash in cutting edge psychedelia and atmospheric in the extreme—otherworldly instrumental “world” music expertly alloyed by the considerable talents of Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar) and Donald “DJ” Johnson (drums). Their artistry lies in being an incredibly tight band making music that sounds loose and jammy.
And until now, the only voices heard on their records were repeated individual words, random conversational snippets and Lee’s soaring wordless vocals. Enter fellow Texan Leon Bridges, the guitarist and retro soul singer who shares Khruangbin’s defining impulse to seek new horizons.
Bridges’ well-recorded, confident vocals are front and center in a broad and detailed sonic image, adding welcome new energy to the band’s usual chill moodiness. The closing refrains of the ballad “Conversion” has more than a whiff of Stevie Wonder and he lays his smooth vocals over a repeated, gentle guitar figure on “Midnight.” A heavier, more full steam groove powers the EP’s standout track, “C-Side,” where Johnson’s synthesizer provides body and Chase Jordan’s vibes add a piquant touch. This is a low key but promising collaboration that begs the question, why just an EP? – Robert Baird
1. Texas Sun (4:13)
2. Midnight (5:15)
3. C-Side (4:43)
4. Conversion (6:46)