Khruangbin – A La Sala

With “A La Sala,” Khruangbin embarks on an enchanting journey back to the roots of their sound while simultaneously exploring new territories. The album, released today, is a refreshing dive into the band’s musical journey, which remains more faithful than ever to their unique vision, without stagnating in their musical development.

The title, which can be translated as “To the Room” in Spanish, immediately reveals the core of this work. It’s a return to the origins, an intimate reunion between the three members – bassist Laura Lee Ochoa, drummer Donald ‘DJ’ Johnson, Jr., and guitarist Mark ‘Marko’ Speer. This sense of reunion permeates the music, with the band embracing minimalism and achieving musical depth with a clear focus. This depth is well heard in a production that is both transparent and clear, while also laying a 1970s tube-like sound over the entire sonic landscape. Beautiful.

The album opens powerfully with “Fifteen Fifty-Tree,” a track that immediately grabs the listener with its intoxicating atmosphere and laid-back sounds. It’s a highlight in production and unmatched laid-back sound quality that sets the tone for the rest of the journey through “A La Sala.”

Khruangbin’s ability to evolve while remaining true to their essence is aptly illustrated by the twelve tracks on the album. The music sounds more jazzy and laid-back than before, but still retains that unique Khruangbin signature embraced by fans worldwide.

The songs on “A La Sala” sound both intimate, as if you’ve known them for a long time, and at the same time an adventurous journey through distant cultures and music genres. Tracks like “A Love International” and “Pon Pón” invite the listener to an intercontinental celebration, while songs like “Hold Me Up (Thank You)” and “Todavía Viva” exude a warm, familial atmosphere with their funky grooves and melodic textures.

What truly sets this album apart is the way Khruangbin embraces the past to create a new future. Drawing from previous recordings and experiments, which serve as inspiration for the compositions on “A La Sala,” the band delivers an immersive listening experience that feels both familiar and refreshing.

But it’s not just the musical aspects that make “A La Sala” so special. Khruangbin’s visual and conceptual approach also contributes to the overall impact of the album. The seven different album covers, designed by the band themselves, offer a glimpse into Khruangbin’s dreamy world while emphasizing the band’s versatility.

In a musical landscape often dominated by trends and expectations, Khruangbin remains a beacon of artistic integrity and independence, which is commendable in times when artists like Beyoncé exploit commercialism to the extreme with their fake country albums. “A La Sala” is the latest chapter in a remarkable journey, a masterpiece that showcases both the depth of their musical craftsmanship and the breadth of their creative vision.

In conclusion, “A La Sala” is undoubtedly one of the most remarkable albums of 2024. It’s an immersive, enchanting journey that invites the listener to get lost in Khruangbin’s unique world. With its profound compositions, sublime production, and boundless creativity, this album deserves all the praise and recognition it can get. Khruangbin has once again surpassed themselves and proves once again why they are one of the most exciting and influential bands of this moment. “A La Sala” is the best album of 2024, so far. (9/10) (Dead Oceans)

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