"My grandpa would always ask me 'Como me quieres?' ('how much do you love me'?), and he'd only ever accept one response. 'Con todo el mundo' (With all the world)." This anecdote by Khruangbin singer and bassist Laura Lee illustrates not only the tender sentiment pulsing through the Texas outfit's sophomore record, but the globetrotting medley of influences the band pour into their writing and recording process as well. 2015's The Universe Smiles Upon You, a Lab fave, was fueled by a suitcase full of obscure 1970s Thai pop & rock cassettes, and this time the crew dig into outsider strains of funk and soul from Iran to inform their singular brand of dusty desert funk; the result sounds something like Shuggie Otis splitting a dutch with Omar Souleyman. While most acts wishing to channel the non-traditional modes and scales of middle eastern music might end up lazily appropriating surface tropes or copping an easy sample, Khruangbin take the time to carefully digest the sounds and respectfully weave these influences into the DNA of the ten songs on Con Todo El Mundo. The catchy flourishes of Mark Speer's killer eastern guitar riffs on "Maria También" are played with such soul and sincerity, we probably wouldn't have even caught the foreign influence if we didn't read the press release first. While the instrumental tracks are enough to get any rare groove fetishist sniffing around, Laura Lee's occasional heavenly vocals take these songs to another level; check out the stirring refrain on album coda "Friday Morning." Other crucial cuts: "Evan Finds The Third Room," "Shades Of Man," "Como Me Quieres" and "Lady And Man." Recommended.
- black vinyl pressing
- printed inner sleeve
- music label: Dead Oceans 2018
reviewed by hannibal chew 01/2018