In Review: Khruangbin - 'So We Won't Forget'
Psych band Khruangbin are known for their expert blending of world music genres on a canvas of instrumental funk. It’s served them well, with their first two full-length albums The Universe Smiles Upon You and Con Todo El Mundo bringing the Texan trio global notoriety and making them a favourite on the festival scene. Having promised that upcoming LP Mordechai will be more focused on vocals than previous releases, their latest single ‘So We Won’t Forget’ heralds what may be a new – and possibly most lucrative yet - era of Khruangbin.
Following their last single, the strutting disco romper ‘You and I’, ‘So We Won’t Forget’ further thrusts bassist-turned-defacto frontwoman Laura Lee into the limelight, with her minimalist and subdued vocal effort anchoring the song. With simple lyrics delivering a simple message, this is a great direction to show off a little versatility opposite the previous single, whilst still allowing the band’s signature surf-funk instrumentation to swirl around the ethereal vocal hook.
Kicking off proceedings by bringing 'the funk', the drum and bass rhythm section shine before abating to the glistening guitar-riff that drives the song forwards. It’s a sound that would have been sound-tracking people’s summers if holidays were sanctioned, instantly bringing to mind road trips; sunsets on beaches and drunken 4am sunrises. The song confidently bops and grooves its way into an understated bass solo before moving into the final chorus and calmly fading out. There is not much to dislike from a musicianship standpoint here – it’s Khruangbin doing what they’re known for and succeeding in doing so.
The most interesting aspect of the song is the vocal and lyrical delivery. Reiterating the band’s statement on the vocal focus in Mordechai, this song showcases a side of Lee’s vocals not yet fully explored in the Khruangbin back catalogue. Occupying a much higher register than previous single ‘You and I’, her performance is a subtle triumph. Lyrically she waxes poetic on the importance of memories, with her words dripping in a melancholic charisma that all but guarantees an instant nostalgia for the song's future audiences. The final line she sings adds a slightly sorrowful and darker tone, where she laments that she “think(s) I lost it” as the song concludes by fading into itself.
'So We Won't Forget' is unlikely to net the band many new fans. Not that they need them – their scheduled live performances at events like Glastonbury this summer would have taken plenty care of that. The song will appease Khruangbin’s current audience, delivering a shimmering slice of their signature surf-funk sound to soundtrack a summer many will remember for less pleasant reasons.
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