Kero Kero Bonito, besides having potentially the greatest Boiler Room set ever (the trio is performing in a shopping mall, singing about shrimp, and snacking on banana mid-set), is a band known for their diverse influences— everything from Japanese pop music to glitchy experimental video game soundtracks.
Their newest album released this week, Time n' Place, feels true to Kero Kero Bonito, but with an added depth and range of influences that make the project quite a surprise. Most songs feature crashing punk-rock drums which is far from what one would expect from the trio, but Sarah Midori Perry's sugary-sweet voice remains unchanged, singing impossibly catchy pop melodies on each track. "Only Acting," the third track and one of the more ambitiously experimental songs on the album, is about the vapid and empty existence cultivated by social media. It's a rock song dripping with emotion that suddenly turns into a broken record in the second half of the track. It feels like a schismatic mixture of Avril Lavigne, Beach House, and Mario Kart; truly the combination I didn't know I needed.
Perry, the lead singer of the band, writes about familial illness, social struggles, relationships, and the world around her. Compared to the airy and carefree lyrics of past Kero Kero Bonito tracks, this is a dramatic shift. The addition of analog instrumentation and the cutting back of more novelty vocal effects and noises is a perfect delivery for the heavier undertones of Time n' Place, while managing to maintain their classic irresistible bubbly pop sound.