【review/rate】kero kero bonito / time ‘n’ place

released 2018, polyvinyl record co.

When an artist suddenly deviates from their established sound and style with no prior notice, the results and feedback are almost always universally divisive.  Some will appreciate, some will find themselves alienated, and some probably won’t come back for the artist’s next release.  Kero Kero Bonito surprise-released their sophomore effort “Time ‘n’ Place” yesterday, and while I consider their new sound a stroke of genius (since this album will surely confuse fans of  “Bonito Generation” and the ultra bubbly PC pop sound), it honestly could have used a little more time in the oven.

There’s no solid concept in the sound direction here, and vocalist Sarah sounds bored the entire time. If she’s always sounded like this, I probably never noticed due to the high energy productions of songs past.  Some of the dreamier, shoegaze-esque cuts (Outside, Flyway, Dump, Rest Stop) are very well produced, but suffer from being simultaneously unmemorable (this could possibly change as I spend more time with the album, but then again, I listen to more than enough stellar shoegaze/dreampop that I probably won’t revisit these to try and grow on them).  Then, there are tracks that just don’t make any sense.  I honestly believed “Sometimes” had to be some sort of joke track….what the fuck?

I’d also like to remind everyone reading that this album only includes “Only Acting” from last winter’s “Totep” EP, a KKB release that I practically salivated over!  Two of the strongest KKB songs ever, “You Know How It Is” and “The One True Path” would have slotted in perfectly on this album and brought its quality up as well. In retrospect, “Totep” seems more cohesive and self aware of its identity and sound than “Time ‘n Place” does, and maybe that’s just due to its length.  I don’t feel KKB were prepared to do an entire album of music in this direction, and it does show. Visiting Hours, Make Believe, and If I’d Known (minus it’s fantastic latter half) all seem half-baked, and left me wanting more.

“Time ‘n’ Place” is by no means a “bad” album, nor is it a “bad Kero Kero Bonito album”, but I do feel like it will earn a “sophomore slump” reputation,  due to the band’s ambitious departure in sound. There are brilliant ideas here, which should be no surprise to anyone, as this is a phenomenal group, but if they do continue down this path (which i’m totally here for by the way!), I’m sure they’ll come back tighter, stronger, and more polished.

  1. Outside ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  2. Time today ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  3. Only acting ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  4. Flyway ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  5. Dump ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  6. Make believe ⭐️⭐️
  7. Dear future self ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  8. Visiting hours ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  9. If i’d known ⭐️⭐️⭐️
  10. Sometimes ⭐️
  11. Swimming ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️
  12. Rest stop ⭐️⭐️

Must-Listen : Dear future self, Swimming, Time today, Dump
Skip : Sometimes, Make believe, Rest stop

Stream “Time ‘n’ Place” on Spotify and Apple Music.

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