The aptly named Khruangbin (which translates as “aeroplane'' in Thai) have traversed so much musical territory in each of their albums they are geographically indefinable.
Making good on their jet-setting ambitions, the temporal trio from Houston, Texas have absorbed a flavourful palette of Middle-Eastern psychedelia, Latin rhythms, and Thai-infused funk throughout their career to date.
Bonding over a mutual adoration of Afghan music and Middle Eastern architecture, guitarist Mark Speer and bassist Laura Lee’s humble beginnings were slightly less enterprising however. Having met whilst playing together in the local methodist church’s gospel band, they later added Donald Ray "DJ" Johnson Jr into the mix to provide their sound’s break-beat backdrop.
After mutual friend Bonobo included one of their earlier songs ‘A Calf Born In Winter’ on his curated Late Night Tales edition in 2013, Khruangbin began to get noticed. Not half because of their visually striking wigs - a ploy that backfired given the intention was for Speer and Lee to go incognito, but instead the sharp fringes became their visual trademark.
Debut full-length album The Universe Smiles Upon You in 2015 continued the intrigue surrounding debut EP The Infamous Bill from the previous year, as their hazy blend of global psychedelia and dub groove prompted Father John Misty, Tycho, and Massive Attack to take the Texans on tour as primary support.
Lauded sophomore album Con Todo el Mundo released in 2018 on indie label Dead Oceans saw them diversify even further, Speer’s languid lead guitar incorporating greater influence from Indian and Middle-Eastern funk they’d discovered over years of crate-digging.
A-list admirers in Paul McCartney and Leon Bridges followed, as did a career-best set at 2019’s Coachella Festival where the intercontinental band found their international audience.
Their collaborative soul-tinged EP Texas Sun followed a year later with Bridges on vocals, alongside their own third full-length Mordechai which saw Laura Lee growing into the role of the defunct front-person and focal point herself, especially on strutting soul-funk track ‘Time (You And I)’.
Exploring more emotional, unifying cosmic themes the globe-trotting trio have their sights set on universal acceptance. Headlining London’s Cross The Tracks in 2022 amongst numerous other festival appearances in Europe and North America (such as Barcelona's Primavera Sound) confirmed so far, they’re not far off from their destination.
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