Album Review: Kero Kero Bonito – TOTEP

By Eli Schoop, Copy Editor
[Self-Released; 2018]
Rating: 7/10

Key Tracks: “Only Acting”, “Cinema”, “You Know How It Is”

PC Music has made an entire niche out of repurposing and reproducing the bizarre musical trends of the naughties. Kero Kero Bonito, who features two prominent collaborators in Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled, brought Sarah Midori Perry on-board to represent the Japanese characteristic of pop, and their 2016 LP, Bonito Generation, is the fruit of their efforts. Their bouncy bubblegum sound made them an instant favorite within the wider affiliates of the collective, but it seems they’ve gone in an entirely new direction with TOTEP, opting for indie rock instead of the helium-buoyed poptimism. While it’s not the Kero Kero we know, it’s still the Kero Kero we love.

The track most reminiscent of their past work is “Only Acting”. Utilizing rhythmic 808s that were previously so memorable, Perry and co. instead, produce a quiet-loud-quiet structure a la Pixies or Weezer that is deliciously fun and shows the band can grasp any genre of music they try with a slice of originality. That originality also manifests itself into a glitchwork cacophony, one that more resembles a psychological horror scheme than any sort of song. It’s a really clever twist and one that shows there’s more to Kero Kero Bonito than meets the eye.

Although short, TOTEP jumps around motifs with ease, ranging from Cardigans-esque twee pop (“Cinema”) to a type of rock that could seamlessly fit into an anime ending (“You Know How It Is”). Suffice it to say, the short runtime is only a fraction of what the group could give us given their boundless creativity. Kero Kero Bonito theoretically straddles the line between irony and sincerity throughout their discography, but TOTEP has shown that there’s a sly wink towards a future production crafted in-between the bounds of pop and rock. Whatever that ends up being, the ingenuity the trio continues to present is up to the task.

Listen here:

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