Two years after Khruangbin and Leon Bridges joined forces to release a four-song EP titled Texas Sun, the two distinctly different artists are back in 2022 with the complimentary EP Texas Moon. Released on Dead Oceans like its predecessor, the new release comes with a few limited pressings (including a label exclusive and an indie retailer exclusive) as well as a standard black vinyl version.
I grabbed a copy via pre-order of the Dead Oceans limited edition on Lunar Fog Vinyl. Let’s take a look…
Limited Edition Pressing on Lunar Fog Vinyl
First off, the cover art for Texas Moon ties directly to that of Texas Sun, the main difference being a nightscape as opposed to one that imbues a sweltering midday heat.
But we’re not here to look at the sleeve, are we? We want to see what exactly Lunar Fog means in terms of vinyl.
Well, I’m not entirely sure how to answer that question. Why? I can’t tell if it’s supposed to represent the moon with a foggy haze, or a small Texas town where the lights of nearby houses are visible but muted. Take a look at the image and let me know what you think it’s supposed to be in the comments.
It’s a little weird, right? Maybe it’s faces in a crowd masked with a late night haze. Maybe they’re ghosts. I don’t know.
Let’s pivot to what I do know: the music.
A Look Back at Texas Sun
With the collaboration of Khruangbin and Leon Bridges, Texas Sun (and for that matter Texas Moon), sees the pair breaking new musical ground. By pairing Bridges’ soul and R&B-themed songwriting and vocal styling with the worldly psychedelic sounds (predominantly of an Eastern influence) of Khruangbin, it’s a sound that has pretty much never been heard before.
Like its predecessor, Texas Moon is an EP. This time, though, Khruangbin and Leon Bridges give us five songs! Digging into the music, right off the bat I can tell you that there is no song by the two that is more powerful than “Texas Sun” off the first EP.
That song defined my drive from Washington to Texas back in March 2020 when I moved cross country. It’s upbeat, has staying power, includes plenty of great hooks, and is an all around great track. But the rest of Texas Sun seemed to lack in my opinion. It ended up feeling more like a 12-inch single with “Texas Sun” as the A-Side and three B-Side tracks.
They just didn’t stand up to what I expected after the powerhouse that was the title track.
A Look at Texas Moon
Texas Moon, on the other hand, is more well rounded. While no song really touches the aforementioned pinnacle track, everything on Texas Moon is GOOD. That’s not to say there aren’t great songs within — there are.
Among my favorites include “B-Side” and “Mariella.” The latter wraps up on the album on a high point with a cool swagger that blends Leon Bridges’ soulful vocals with Khruangbin’s signature eastern psychedelic sounds.
The former, “B-Side”, was given video treatment. Khurangbin adds a funky beat. In true form, the video drops in some psychedelic visuals. It’s cool, it’s fun, and it is on point.
It’s not just those two. The rest of the songs on Texas Moon carry the EP to new heights for the collaboration. Variety emphasizes what I’ve been talking about in their review:
Calmer and a bit moodier than the debut, it finds the two bringing out things in their sounds that hadn’t really been there before — a slow neo-‘70s funk sound from (guitarist Mark) Speer on the opening track “Doris,” and a faster one from the group on the following track “B-Side.”Variety’s Review of Texas Moon
Similarly, “Chocolate Hills” hits more high points with a mid-tempo beat and an upbeat vocal melody from Bridges.
Unlike Texas Sun, there really isn’t a weak point to be found. All hold power and weight; they’ve earned their presence here, and for that I love them all. Texas Sun was worth owning for the title track alone; this one is worthy because it’s SOLID through and through.