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Listen To Khruangbin's New Album 'A LA SALA'

Listen To Khruangbin's New Album 'A LA SALA'

Samantha Cheong / Friday 5th April, 2024 11:40AM

Houston trio Khruangbin call us over “to the room”, the English translation for the title of their new album A LA SALA, a twelve track collection held in masterful restraint, recognition and authenticity. Staying true to their personal tastes and textures, bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, drummer Donald “DJ” Johnson, Jr. and guitarist / producer Mark “Marko” Speer's fifth studio long player gives significance to the loose ends of once-played musings during soundchecks and such — further showcasing their strength in bringing together different cultural elements and genres.

Last year at Spark Arena, I counted myself lucky to be amongst the most serene, closed-eye crowd I had been in. They absorbed the music as much as the presence of each other — a side effect of consuming Khruangbin’s potent concoctions. Despite being dominantly instrumental, they never seem to run out of things to say. ‘Fifteen Fifty-Three’ opens with a restrained but loving conversation between bass, guitar and drums. Speer’s enviable tone can make you weep, and his reverb allows for those sizable tears to flow. ‘May Ninth’ is a highlight and timeless journey with a strong melody, before DJ funks things back up with the West African vibes of ‘Pon Pón’. There’s also the vox-heavy and twanging, anticipatory chords of ‘Todavía Viva’, whose noir-soul, percussive mantra whispers into your ear as you lounge in the morning sun of its synths. And the upbeat, triangular bass of ‘Juegos y Nubes’ rightfully skirts its games around your ears, while ‘Hold Me Up (Thank You)’ is a funk shuffle anthem encouraging deep gratitude towards family (watch the new video below). Finally, they close with the surprising timbre of the piano in ‘Les Petits Gris’.

Speer deliberately colours outside the lines like legendary trumpeter Miles Davis did, with voice-led chords of perfection and melodies that feel wholly his own. Ochoa and DJ keep us transfixed with the endless grooves they emulate beneath and in conjunction with Speer’s guitar. Together, the trio evoke very visual soundscapes with, to me, the filmic quality of Adrian Younge’s music. Need I say more? Come, join Khruangbin in their room of psychedelic colours…

‘A La Sala,’ I used to scream it around my house when I was a little girl, to get everybody in the living room; to get my family together. That’s kind of what recording the new album felt like. Emotionally there was a desire to get back to square-one between the three of us, to where we came from–in sonics and in feeling. Let’s get back there.” – Laura Lee Ochoa

‘A LA SALA’ is out today on digital streaming platforms, cassette, compact disc and vinyl LP via Dead Oceans.


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