With Kero Kero Bonito, what you see is what you get. Their contagiously fun image carries over into their sound and, for a large part, their songs are as charmingly self-explanatory as their titles suggest. There’s not much to work out here, just sugar-coated pop banger after sugar-coated pop banger to become addicted to.
“We live in a day and age where tracks are more important than they’ve been since the 60s,” the group’s Gus Lobban told London In Stereo in our latest print issue. ‘Bonito Generation’ coheres into a solid album in that its tracks all ooze the same slightly bonkers delight, but they’re all distinctive hits in their own right – bar perhaps relative interlude ‘Paintbrush’.
It would be untruthful to say that much of KKB’s surreal appeal doesn’t stem from their J-Pop leanings. Singer Sarah Midori Perry’s father is English, her mother Japanese, so the infusion is natural, and it works a treat. Switching seamlessly between the two languages on the likes of ‘Waking Up’ and ‘Graduation’, they effortlessly establish their niche.
There aren’t too many records whose biggest takeaways include the joy of jumping on a ‘Trampoline’ or pondering what’s going through the head of a fish in its bowl (‘Fish Bowl’) – and that’s exactly what makes ‘Bonito Generation’ such a curiously enjoyable listening experience. The songs are sometimes almost too bizarre to take seriously but with the real world all a bit too much right now, Kero Kero Bonito are offering a most welcome alternate one. Jump in and lose yourself in the bizarre brilliance of it all.