Kero Kero Bonito
J-pop for adults
Kero Kero Bonito is growing up. The British trio’s first two records were clear-cut odes to bubblegum and J-pop, drawing easy parallels to early Katy Perry and the surreal sugary Lolita stylings of Kyary Pamyu Pamyu. Lead singer Sarah Bonito (aka Sarah Midori Perry) rapped and sang her way through a collection of bi-lingual (Japanese and English) musical fluff anchored by toy Casio keyboards and programmed beats that packed about as much power as a potato chip. But this year’s Time ‘n’ Place, the group’s third album, features the arrival of guitars, bass, an actual drum kit, and a much wider range of musical influences and depth. While Sarah’s charmingly childlike lyrics still veer towards absurd escapism (and don’t worry, the Harajuku hip hop vibe remains), the band’s sound displays a newfound grit that encompasses noise, punk, and a harder electronic edge than their earlier work. Is KKB finally shedding some of its candy shell?