Matt's Music Corner: A Look at Kero Kero Bonito’s Newest EP ‘TOTEP’ 

On this Matt Music Corner, I'll be discussing the latest release from Kero Kero Bonito, “TOTEP.” I’ve been a fan of the group for the past year now, as their blend of electro pop, k-pop and indie music stylings has made for a seriously addicting combination. A quick history lesson, though, for those who don’t know who they are: Kero Kero Bonito is a British band based out of London, England, made up of singer Sarah Midori Perry and producers Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled who formed in 2011. Lobban and Bulled were childhood friends who wanted to form a band, but wanted to find a singer who could speak Japanese. So, after posting an advertisement on MixB, an online bulletin board for Japanese expatriates, they found Perry and the rest is history.

Their 2016 debut album, “Graduation,” was a bit of a late bloomer for me, as I didn’t get around to it until early 2017, but once it clicked, I was in love. I was excited to see where they’d go next as I was expecting a bit more of the same on whatever the next project would sound like. So, when they released the first single to this EP, “Only Acting,” that seemed to be right at first. It started off with this fun electro pop song that had a bit of an indie rock edge to it, which was pretty cool. Then, it began to evolve into a full on experimental rock song by the time the track ended, resembling something by Big Black more than Kylie Minogue.

Overall on this new EP, there seems to be a darker edge, or at least a more explicit one. Some tracks on “Graduation” have an underlying tension of something darker, but never came until the forefront until now. The band usually kept the sounds on their previous work sugary sweet, while this time around they were more than willing to alienate some listeners with more harsh and jarring sounds. “The One True Path” features some pretty gnarly synth work that pops up towards the end, and Perry’s vocal work doesn’t quite have the happy exterior it once did.

“You Know How It Is” is a full on punk rock track that, to put it simply, just works. I don’t know why I’m shocked, as I really shouldn’t be, but Kero Kero Bonito have proven themselves to be a seriously versatile band with this new EP. While “Graduation” kept a pretty similar sonic aesthetic throughout the whole thing, “TOTEP” is pretty all over the place in the best way possible. So, if you haven’t already gotten into Kero Kero Bonito, now is the time, as this EP is damn excellent.

Listen to “TOTEP” on Spotify:
Written by Matt Monroe