With an EP featuring Leon Bridges and an irresistibly danceable single in "Time (You & I)" under their belt, 2020 has been a busy year thus far for Khruangbin. With the announcement of their new album Mordechai, due June 26th Dead Oceans, they treated listeners to another sneak peek with a brand new single, "So We Won't Forget."
When people think of Khruangbin, an association with instrumental world music is probably the first thing that comes to mind. Through their first album, The Universe Smiles Upon You (2015) which explores Southeast Asian funk to Con Todo El Mundo (2018) which toys with more of a Middle Eastern flare, the majority of their albums let the music do the talking rather than the lyrics. Now, it appears bassist and lead vocalist, Laura Lee Ochoa finally has something to say.
The Texas-based trio which also features Donald Johnson on drums and Mark Speer on guitar have never been considered background sounds nor elevator music despite the lack of voices. The dynamics of their sound have always been enough, yet in Mordechai, we can expect Ochoa's vocals to feature in a more prominent role — as we've been showcased to in the two singles released thus far including "So We Won't Forget."
The track begins with Johnson supplying some playful percussion on bongos or djembe drums joined by Ochoa's bassline as they both tones hint that they are derived from a West African style of playing. As Speer jumps in on the fun, we hear his patented guitar provide some Thai-flavour on a sensationally sparkly lick.
Our first impressions of Ochoa's vocals lead in with some passive oohs and aahs along with a few simple lines pointing at themes of memories coming and going, lending to the title of the song. As the chorus arrives, additional percussion and synth work help with the tempo picking up as Ochoa's vocal line matches with the rhythm set by Speer and adds a salient layer of depth reaching points untouched by the band on their previous projects — think Charlotte Day Wilson if accompanied by a band.
The bass continues to chug along as Khruangbin discovers their disco roots once again creating a track that makes it impossible not to bob your head like a scene from Night At the Roxbury. While Khruangbin's catalog is like flipping through a photo album of traveling around the world, Mordechai will prove as a quintessential stop on that wandering journey featuring pictures of West Africa, Pakistan, Korea and grounded in Houston, Texas.