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Khruangbin - A La Sala (Album Review)

Wednesday, 10 April 2024 Written by Jacob Brookman

Photo: David Black

‘A La Sala’ finds Khruangbin returning to low-key grooves, mixing spaghetti Western guitars with old-school drums and sauntering basslines. It is an excellent addition to the Houston trio’s catalogue, who continue to explore a distinctive, meticulous sound.

Standout cuts include the elegant Pon Pón, a shuffling groover that returns us to the sound they honed on 2015's ‘The Universe Smiles Upon You’ — a slightly distant style of 1970s Chicano rock that creeps on you with its jinks, zigs and zags. Also, like many of the album’s 12 tracks, it introduces a winning additional element to the core trio’s approach. Here it's some sexy Spanish whispering just below the main melody line. 

There is also smokey joy to be taken from A Love International, where clicky funk becomes a hypnotic metronome for the track.

Unlike the rest of the album, here the guitar follows the bass as it snakes its way through the heliotrope clouds of the mind. It's sprawling and nocturnal, containing a deftly timed transposition two thirds in that reminds us we are dealing with proper musicians.

Elsewhere, May Ninth returns us to sun-drenched rhythms, this time adorned with softly blended vocals that turn a mood exercise into a song…just. Ironically, it probably reveals the band’s limitations. As a blissed-out soundtrack to chilled times and conscious ideation, Khruangbin are one of the best around. As purveyors of radio-ready pop songs, there are big gaps in their sound.

But one cannot be too sniffy. It’s very hard to find an artistic voice that is consistent, deep and commercially appealing, and in ‘A La Sala’ Khruangbin deliver some great work. The word “Khruangbin” translates to “aeroplane” in Thai — as a group to take us up into the clouds, it's probably the right time to plug in and switch off.

Khruangbin Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Fri November 15 2024 - GLASGOW OVO Hydro
Sun November 17 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Mon November 18 2024 - MANCHESTER O2 Apollo
Wed November 20 2024 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Thu November 21 2024 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Fri November 22 2024 - LONDON Eventim Apollo
Sun November 24 2024 - DUBLIN 3Arena

Compare & Buy Khruangbin Tickets at Stereoboard.com.


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