Review Summary: くよくよせずに楽しくやろうぜ
I am guilty of many a misstep when listening to new records, because for me, the initial interaction between artist and listener is often as difficult and multi-faceted as forming new relationships with other people. Perhaps most lamentable is a tendency to gravitate towards heavy-hearted songs - tracks that tint my room in a darker shade of grey, that validate untoward emotional responses to trivial affairs. I wallow, I whimper when I sing along and I only dance like no one is watching when literally no one is watching.
I think Kero Kero Bonito have countered this susceptibility, though; waltzing on into my routine with a celebratory ardour, party poppers and all. Bonito Generation
understands completely that life-affirming occasions don’t happen every day, and so it finds equal mirth in things that end as soon as they begin. Half the songs on this album seem to say huh, this is fun
before passing through to the next modicum of levity, and it’s a contagious sort of spirit, buoyed by a sense of youthfulness. Heard a Song
- possibly the purest song of all time - details a love-at-first-sight musical experience that bounces along its chiptune-inspired bass/string lead. I forget to care about the fact it’s played on a Casio mini-keyboard.
, contender for both best hook and best music video in recent memory, is appropriately undemanding. There is a bounty of interesting quirks that float in and out of this song at leisure: a dash of bedroom-y strings, a smattering of cowbell, a breezy phone conversation as an interlude. It’s a piece of music that revels in its cheesiness. It exerts all its energy on ignoring the buzzkill, then it goes for its afternoon nap.
is like a Steven Universe plotline playing out in our reality, and there are similar moments on this record that betray KKB’s faithful attention to colour and creativity. Trampoline’s
key change is the song blossoming its way up in to the clouds, sweeping us up in its optimism, as if you weren’t having a good time already. On that note, Trampoline
follows in Flamingo’s
footstep(s) as a conduit for the importance of fun, unapologetic and unrestrained (“it’s so easy, anyone can trampoline”). These are the simplest of metaphors delivered with the best of intentions. The most detailed of songs delivered with the most carefree sound. The album is clear-skinned and giddy on caffeine, generous with its innocence and pronounced in its joie de vivre.
This world is disfigured and bleak and unforgiving. People lose other people and people get hungry. We grow up and feel guilt and apprehension and sadness. The things we own break easily and get stolen all the time. Buried underneath, however, is the capacity to share in a common joy; to hold hands in a circle and flail around like one of those inflatable tube men you see at car dealerships. I think that Kero Kero Bonito can be that common joy, if Sarah Perry manages to wake up when her alarm rings.