Some bands are weird just for the sake of being weird, while other bands legitimately use their diverse sonic backgrounds to try new things. Whereas the former births obnoxious bands like The Flaming Lips, the latter creates bands like Kero Kero Bonito. Kero Kero Bonito, or KKB, consists of vocalist Sarah Midori Perry and producers Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled. The British trio has been banging out tracks left and right for the last five years, blending Japanese pop, EDM, and hip-hop. On their newest release, TOTEP, the group drops their DJ equipment in favor for lo-fi guitars and drums. TOTEP marks a radical departure from the group that released a music video for Japanese-EDM song called “Forever Summer Holiday” only seven months ago.
The four tracks on TOTEP all blend KKB’s new sound with the electronic skills the group has picked up along their career. First track, “The One True Path”, features Perry singing in her British-Japanese melodic style over some dark, funky bass and drums. The production throughout the track is lush, but still retains that made-in-a-bedroom feeling. The second track, “Only Acting”, is Weezer-meets-Radiohead with loud, rocking guitars in the chorus and glitchy electronic effects in the pre-bridge. The song is a bizarro version of an early 00s rock track, especially when it begins to skip at the end and fall apart into an array of uncomfortable sounds. However, this discomfort works well when Perry breaks into the third track, “You Know How It Is.” The jangly guitars in the fast-paced song provide it with a comforting sound, as if the song already exists somewhere in the Indie zeitgeist. Kero Kero Bonito wraps up the 11 minute EP with “Cinema.” The subtle synths and simple backbeat blend Mac Demarco and Radiohead into a distinct track where the group cements their new sound.
Anyone who recognizes the group is sure to realize the change in imagery associated with the sound. Kero Kero Bonito has eschewed their loud, neon and Japanese influenced album art, in favor of the ever growing expired film look. The total band redesign that TOTEP embodies will take time to settle in, but for now Kero Kero Bonito’s unique flavor is one the Indie scene could use right now.