Con Todo El Mundo
It’s a good eight minutes and most of two songs into the second album from this Houston, Texas trio before you hear any vocals, and by that point they may well be superfluous. Khruangbin (the name translates from Thai as “flying engine” or “airplane” and the former feels particularly fitting) make immaculate instrumental tracks that effortlessly accommodates psychedelic rock, Thai funk, Caribbean grooves, vintage funk, and Middle Eastern riffs. What makes Con Todo El Mundo (another translation, this time from Spanish: “for all the world”) so pleasurable is the way those touchstones tie together to create a singular, gratifying sound. Bassist Laura Lee deftly moves in and out of the beat, guitarist Mark Speer supplies long and supple runs, and drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson places a funk kick on the rhythm as these songs unfurl without undue stress. Like gears on a car, the three-piece can shift up into the sharp, reverb-heavy bite of “Maria También” or slow into a nocturnal, jazzy drift on “August 10.” The feel is mellow, but it’s never merely easy listening; the shifting melodies and pinpoint drum parts keep you focused on the many possibilities of this sound.