Just a couple of weeks before we welcomed 2020, the Houston trio Khruangbin announced a collaboration with Forth Worth-based soul artist Leon Bridges. Though both headlined a 2018 North American tour together, heading into the studio with Khruangbin wasn’t on Bridges’ itinerary — until last year. On Dec. 3, both Bridges and Khruangbin announced their joint EP, “Texas Sun,” and an upcoming self-titled single on their Instagram, giving their followers something to look forward to in the new year. A pleasant EP made to carry listeners away, “Texas Sun” is the exemplary model of modern, diverse Texas music that anyone can take pleasure in.
With his mellow delivery, Bridges renders the malevolent Texas sun as something pleasant throughout the 20-minute-long EP. Likewise, the psych-funk trio Khruangbin provides an amiable instrumental that truly resonates well with Texas music — the country pedal steel echoes, the Spanish guitar imbued with sparkle and, of course, the swirling ambiance conveyed by their instruments.
Introducing the indie rock EP “Texas Sun” with its title track, Khruangbin’s guitarist Mark Speer melts troubles with his nylon guitar, later accompanied by bassist Laura Lee and drummer Donald Johnson. The reverbed instruments in “Texas Sun” allow Bridges’ heavy vocals to mellow out even more, helping listeners reminisce on the days when simplicity was still present. It is then followed by the soulful joint “Midnight” in which Bridges takes a night drive, confessing those clandestine meetings he’s been having. Serving as their second single from this EP, “C-Side” has the grooviest rhythm and ambiance out of all four tracks. Lee’s bassline is just as memorable as the cowbells played in the background, both vibrantly looped from the start to the end of the song. Concluding the indie-rock EP, the ballad “Conversion” highlights Bridges’ leisured delivery with minimal yet powerful support from Khruangbin’s instrumental. The gospel hymn “At The Cross” is used as a guideline in this song, showcasing Bridges’ spiritual awakening as he began his music career back in 2012.
Paying homage to their home state, both Khruangbin and Leon Bridges have successfully depicted their Texas landscape through the collaborative EP. Empathetically crafted, these four songs from “Texas Sun” will leave listeners wanting more from this short and sweet collaboration.