The Universe Smiles Upon You, the trio wasted no time in positioning itself firmly in the camp of neo-psych that’s characterized by R&B and classic soul, creating a softer, sultry sound. The music is funky and stylish rather than bright and kaleidoscopic — in other words, no less rooted in the West, but a far more suitable soundtrack for warm Palm Springs nights than hot Joshua Tree days. While reminiscent of bands such as Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Khruangbin pulls inspiration from more esoteric sources, including 1960s Thai funk, 1980s Algerian symphonia and Balearic house. It would be a disservice to say that Khruangbin is simply informed by “world music,” an increasingly useless term in this day and age. This band makes music that is smart, postmodern and exceptionally groovy.
Neo-psychedelia can feel dominated by bands that use desert rock as a touchstone and layer synthesizers over reverb-slathered guitars with abandon. Khruangbin is not one of those bands. Emerging from Texas with debut album