Khruangbin - The Universe Smiles Upon You (Vinyl)

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Khruangbin are a largely instrumental Houston trio that take elements of ’60s and ’70s Thai funk, soul, psych, R&B, surf, and jazz and pull it all into the same spacious but distinct sonic universe. Bassist Laura Lee, guitarist Mark Speer, and drummer Donald Johnson recorded their debut album The Universe Smiles Upon You in a barn deep in the Texas countryside, and during the long drives out, they would listen to cassettes they found on the blog and compilations of Southeast Asian pop, rock, and funk — their name literally translates to “engine fly,” meaning airplane in Thai. The result is something both groove-heavy and dreamy, and it absolutely evokes the deep-in-the-wilderness, staring-at-the-stars sense of mysticism that its title and cover art hint at.

The Universe Smiles Upon You is the debut studio album by American musical trio Khruangbin. It was released November 6, 2015 under Night Time Stories.

While The Universe Smiles Upon You often slides by, frictionless, on grooves and guitars that sound like they’ve been doused in Vaseline, don’t be tricked for a moment into thinking that it qualifies as easy listening. The Texas and London-based trio’s debut album is a subtle dance, a constellation of small movements and highly nuanced arrangements that unfolds seamlessly, like ripples on the water. Even as it hypnotizes us, slinking forward on the weightlessness of crisp drums and rolling bass figures, Universe reveals tiny thorns and eddies of tension beneath its soothing surface.

Khruangbin have continually pointed towards the explosion of funk music that came out of Thailand in the ‘60s and ‘70s as a major source of inspiration; their most recent EP, History of Flight, was a collection of covers featuring some of their favorite Thai musicians. Yet while Mark Speer’s mercurial guitar tones bear a strong resemblance to albums by Thai forbearers like Dao Bandon and The Impossible, particularly on album opener “Mr. White” and the minor-key lurch of “Balls and Pins,” Khruangbin are interested in much more than simply paying homage.

By; Stereogum.

1. "Mr. White" 4:58
2. "Two Fish and an Elephant" 3:33
3. "Dern Kala" 3:39
4. "Little Joe & Mary" 5:08
5. "White Gloves" 3:38
6. "People Everywhere (Still Alive)" 2:39
7. "The Man Who Took My Sunglasses" 2:13
8. "August Twelve" 6:13
9. "Balls and Pins" 3:28
10. "Zionsville" 4:11

Bass Guitar – Laura Lee 
Design – Samuel Muir
Drums – Donald Johnson, Jr.
Guitar – Mark Speer
Pedal Steel Guitar – Wilhelm Van Horn*
Percussion – Mark Speer
Vocals – Laura Lee, Mark Speer

The original LP release, black vinyl, not limited edition.

Barcode: 5060391090382