REVIEW: Khruangbin “Mordechai” Is a Place Where Precision Carries Resonance


On Mordechai, Khruangbin’s 3rd full length album, the band continues to push the boundaries of their ‘60s Thai influences while simultaneously harkening to its soft jazz kindred spirits. Like a new age neon lounge act, Khruangbin defies easy categorization or explanation – one of many things that makes this band so intriguing. Although appealing to many on the jam circuit, the interplay of this trio goes beyond improvisational playfulness to a place where precision carries more resonance. Khruangbin is Laura Lee (bass), Mark Speer (guitar), and Donald Ray Johnson Jr. (drums); there picture should be next to “in the pocket” in a musical dictionary.

Mordechai was recorded by Steve Christensen at The Farm, Burton, TX and Terminal C, Houston, TX; mixed by Steve Christensen at Terminal C; produced by Khruangbin and Steve Christensen. All music by Khruangbin with lyrics by Ochoa and Speer. While primarily perceived of as an instrumental exploration, ethereal lyrics add intimacy and mystery to an already rich sonic landscape.

“Time (You and I)” pulses like a disco hit as vocals dance above, “if we had more time, we could live forever, just you and I, we could be together.” Khruangbin invite, almost demand, the listener to set worries aside and live forever in the moment deep in the groove. Like Deee-Lite before them, Khruangbin finds, “the groove is in the heart.” Other highlights include the intriguing plod of “Father Bird, Mother Bird” with its hints of Spaghetti Western Morricone influence and the racing “Pelota” as it brings the speed of the game to life. “One To Remember” takes the listener away to a dreamscape of Eastern psychedelia while “So We Won’t Forget” returns Khruangbin to their signature stylings complete with bouncy bass, precise drumming, searching electric guitar, and a femme fatale vocal.

Khruangbin’s Mordechai is out now via Dead Oceans; pick up your copy and drift away on a sea of subtle funk.


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