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Album Review: Mordechai by Khruangbin

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Khruangbin is a rock, psychedelic, and funk band from Texas. While Speer and Johnson originally met through their church band, they eventually met and recruited Laura Lee down the road. While I wasn't too stoked about their singles, I was pleasantly surprised by the sound they produced on the album. Mordechai marks their third studio album.

The first track from the album is First Class. The track starts out with some reverbed guitars and a groovy bass line. It honestly sounds like something Thundercat would create. The aesthetic and laid back guitars just blend in so well in the background as the bass line is the main focus. There aren't too many lyrics on the track and it's minimalistic in nature. The track basically brings them back to their roots in Houston, Texas since they mention 'H-Town.'

The weird guitar effects from the last track smoothly transition into Time (You and I). This was the first promotional single for the album. The vibe of this track definitely gives me a late 70s and early 80s sound with the danceability. One thing I found interesting is that towards the end of the track, they say 'That's Life' in a variety of languages. Based on the title of the track and the lyrics, the concept of this track is about time and being with the person they love.

Unlike the first track, Connaissais de Face focuses more on the guitar rather than the bass line. The track is mainly a spoken piece sprinkled throughout the track. They talk about going to this place, which could reference this bar they went to and a bartender they were in contact with. This track was to pay homage to that person. The chorus consists of a french part, which has to do with knowing someone by their face/front, but not about their personality.

By far my favorite track on the album is Father Bird, Mother Bird. Even though it is an instrumental track, this track has a lot to offer. Besides the groovy bassline and guitar lines that introduce the track, you get several neat guitar solos throughout. The drumbeat in the background is simple but adds to the laid back vibe from the track.

After that, we come to the longest track from the album, If There Is No Question. This track brings us back to the non-instrumental music. For me, the backing instrumental doesn't sound like anything new they haven't created yet on this album. I do like the smooth transition though from the verses to the chorus. The chorus talks about broken or unkept promises. The track ends with the concept of this person being wild, but not crazy.

Pelota was the last promotional single for the album, as well as the shortest track on the album, just a little under three minutes in length. This track definitely reminds me of Latin American dance music with the vibe, as well as the lyrics since they are in Spanish. According to the translation, 'pelota' translates to 'ball.' Not exactly sure what the message or theme behind this track is about, so I'll leave that up to you for interpretation.

One to Remember brings us back to the groovy tunes that were introduced towards the beginning of the album. Again, this is another minimalistic track in lyrics. I do like the small tiny instrumentation effects that are in the track. It sounds like the bass might be making those sound effects. Also, the reverbed guitar parts that start in the middle of the track are mesmerizing.

Next, we have Dearest Alfred, which opens up with some smooth guitar and bass parts, as well as the soothing 'ooh' vocals. On the track, they talk about how this person's letter was the best gift, even though they don't talk as much. If you think back to the last time you received a legitimate letter from a friend, it might have been a long time ago, unless it was for a birthday or holiday.

So We Won't Forget was another promotional single for the album. The track opens with the amazing bass line, as well as the high pitched 'ooh' vocals. Besides having to re-record the bass part when they changed the key of the track, the band said that memory is a powerful thing. They want you to remind the people that mean the most to you that you love them, so they won't forget.

The final track from the album is Shida. This might as well be an instrumental track since the only word they say is 'Shida', and that is only said a few times. The word shida has a few translations. It can mean fern, difficulty, or even top ten, depending on the language. According to certain reports, this track is about a person named Shida that they met while touring.

It's a decent chill album. However, I probably won't be listening to it often, unless I need a nice relaxing day. The album starts out strong but quickly fades away after a few tracks. They exhaust most of their ideas by the first two to three tracks. Pelota was a nice change of scenery but doesn't fit the concept of the album that well.
Overall Rating: 6/10
Favorite Tracks: First Class, Father Bird, Mother Bird, One to Remember

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