Two years after the release of their Civilisation I EP, Kero Kero Bonito have returned with an at times chaotic follow-up EP
To describe the sound of Kero Kero Bonito as simply ‘unique’ would be an almost offensive understatement. Since their formation in 2011, they’ve been pumping out sunshine-y alt-pop, amassing a hardcore fanbase of adoring followers with their unusual style and upbeat computerized sounds. Becoming an integral part of pop culture, both 2014’s ‘Flamingo’ and ‘I’d Rather Sleep’ quickly gained popularity on TikTok, and earlier this year the band were asked to record the lead track for wacky video game, ‘Bugsnax’.
Following the release of Civilisation I back in 2019, Kero Kero Bonito will release the EP’s follow up, Civilisation II, this Wednesday (21 April). Somewhat moving away from the lighthearted tone of their previous works, Civilisation II feels less cohesive, and seems relatively self-indulgent by contrast to their other material.
‘The Princess and the Clock’ follows a fairly typical compositional format for the band, and relays a fantastical tale of a kidnapped princess who is imprisoned in a glass tower. The ethereal vocals and bouncy, dreamy synth reflect the imagination of the main character, but are soon contrasted by heavily layered, computerized sounds, conveying a sense of anguish and frustration. It’s not until the bridge that the beat of the track slows, and the lyrics “They found my garland that smashed open window sill” reveal the princess has escaped, the change of pronoun indicating that she was the voice behind the track all along.
Second track, ’21/04/2020′ recounts a specific date in lockdown, exactly a year prior to the release of the EP. The steady noise of a drum machine, coupled with a consistent synth pattern reflects the steadiness of lockdown life, the lyrics recounting the daily exercise, video calls and postponements that have become all too familiar to us all in the last year.
However, the final track of the EP, ‘Well Rested’, a 7 minute long remix of ‘Rest Stop’ (from 2018 album, Time ‘n’ Place) feels chaotic and overindulgent. A mess of different rhythms, freestyle synth, and sporadic vocals, it’s hard to grasp the track before it mutates, leaving the listener feeling disorientated and discordant.
Despite a promising start, the three, vastly different tracks feel separate and unrelated, and result in the EP feeling disorganised and incomplete.
Kero Kero Bonito’s Civilisation II is released tomorrow, April 21st, and is available to pre-save now.