Over the last decade, Khruangbin (pronounced “krung-bin”) has mastered the art of setting a mood, of creating atmosphere. But on Mordechai, follow-up to their 2018 breakthrough Con Todo El Mundo, the Houston trio makes space in their globe-spinning psych-funk for something that’s been largely missing until now: vocals. The result is their most direct work to date. From the playground disco of “Time (You and I)” to the Latin rhythms of “Pelota”—inspired by a Japanese film, but sung in Spanish—to the balmy reassurances of “If There Is No Question,” much of Mordechai has the immediacy of an especially adventurous pop record. Even moments of hallucinogenic expanse (“One to Remember”) or haze (“First Class”) benefit from the added presence of a human voice. “Never enough paper, never enough letters,” they sing from inside a shower of West African guitar notes on “So We Won’t Forget,” the album’s high point. “You don’t have to be silent.”

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