Dead Oceans – DOC254LP (2022) US
Two of the acts boldly leading Texas music into the future have now delivered a second chapter of their groundbreaking collaboration, further extending the region’s sonic possibilities. Singer/songwriter Leon Bridges, from Ft. Worth, and trailblazing Houston trio Khruangbin have joined forces for the Texas Moon EP, a follow-up to 2020’s acclaimed Texas Sun project. While the five new songs are clearly a continuation of the first EP, they also have an identity all their own—Bridges calls it “more introspective,” while Khruangbin bassist Laura Lee says it “feels more night time.”
When Texas Sun was released, AllMusic called the results “intoxicating” and Paste noted that “their talents and character go together so well.” Now comes the next stage—a set of songs that touch on themes like love, faith, and death while exploring new dimensions of inventive, hypnotic grooves.
Significantly, both parties’ musical directions were clearly affected by their time working together. Khruangbin’s most recent album, Mordechai, moved their own vocals much further forward, a change they readily admit was a direct result of working with Bridges. Meanwhile, since these recordings began, in addition to his genre-defying album Gold-Digger’s Sound, Bridges has put out several other challenging, shared tracks, including work with John Mayer, Lucky Daye, and Jazmine Sullivan.
Texas Moon represents a genuine and rare achievement, with two of the most respected and innovative acts of their generation truly collaborating to create something new. “As far as an essentially instrumental band, these guys are kind of the top for me,” says Bridges. “I’m honored to have been the first singer that they’ve incorporated in their music.”
“It feels really special to me,” says Lee. “It’s not Khruangbin, it’s not Leon, it’s this world we created together.”