Khruangbin, “Con Todo El Mundo”
Con Todo El Mundo
In an age in which everyone has a megaphone, it doesn’t mean a whole lot for someone to decide to start screaming into one. Music used to be a way for those who needed an outlet to share their thoughts, but now there’s an app for that, and within your personalized RSS feed of memes and doomsday scenarios, the people you don’t hear from that much end up becoming the people you would most like to hear from anyway.
Lyrically, Khruangbin have largely remained silent through their first two albums—and so far that silence has proven to be a sharp look these days. Even before Trump’s election, the oversaturation of unsolicited (but warranted) political anguish was beginning to spill over, so 2015’s The Universe Smiles Upon You arrived like the unplugging of a dangerously full bath; for forty minutes, the chaos of the modern world swirled down the drain underneath a stream of guitar, drum, and bass. And now that every new release is considered to be a potential protest album of some kind, Con Todo El Mundo has arrived wonderfully devoid of any superfluous meaning.
Which isn’t to say that there isn’t meaning behind this latest LP—quite the contrary, to be sure. (The howling guitar solo on “Rules” is one of the most stirring, meaningful moments in music so far this year.) It’s just that Khruangbin’s instrumental presentation can more accurately be applied to the broader emotions of the human condition. There are lyrics smattered throughout—and frequently effective ones at that—but they weren’t designed to get you to sit down and study them. “As far as the lyrics go, [“Evan Finds the Third Room”] is basically one big pile of inside jokes,” the band told NPR, unashamedly dismissing any concrete interpretation of what is instead an affirmative, joyous abstraction of funk and psychedelia that calls back Remain in Light as much as it does Mothership Connection.
Based in Texas, the trio—composed of Laura Lee on bass, Mark Speer on guitar, and Donald “DJ” Johnson on drums—no doubt has plenty to say about the political mess that their country is in. But for now, they’re content being the quiet ones in the room, making a very different kind of noise for people who need it. And when those like Khruangbin do decide to break their silence—be it to dish on love or hate—you know it’s going to be something worth paying attention to.