♫♪  Kero Kero Bonito - Intro Bonito

ケロケロ is the sound frogs make in Japan. Bonito means “beautiful” in Spanish. Depending on who you ask, London’s Kero-Kero Bonito might make insufferably chirpy and saccharine music, or they might have tapped into the mainline of the internet and are gracious enough to beam their DAW discoveries into our jaded little domes via SoundCloud. If you ask me, I’ll tell you straight up, “I love this shit.” KKB come off as the spiritual descendants of (the recently revived) Cibo Matto, whose gleeful omni-pop / leftfield hip-hop classic Viva La Woman! still gets me to SHUT UP AND EAT on the reg. If Miho Hatori and Yuka Honda seemed to exist in an alternate universe back in 1996, rapping in broken English about knowing one’s chicken and eating carrots together, today’s mass culture has so fully embraced the 萌え by way of its Kyarys and SOPHIEs that KKB’s hyperactive celebrations of video game expertise and sleeping in late fit nicely into our schema. We live in a time when this band can generate substantial buzz via multiple media outlets, and for that, I am down.

So what tropes does Intro Bonito, the trio’s debut mini-album, throw at its listeners across its half an hour duration, like a large display of items available for purchase at Tom Nook’s store? The kitchen sink, man. On the production end, arranged by two dudes named Gus and Jamie: Mario 64 and Chrono Trigger samples; hi-fi synth solos pounded out over MIDI slap bass tones; trap hi-hats and 808 kicks (obviously); sudden square wave chord progressions; willfully tinny preset drum tones; obligatory cat (ニャーニャー) and dog (ワンワン) sounds; pitch-shifted vocaloid melodies. MC/vocalist Sarah ties it all together with her stream of consciousness toasting, code-switching between English and Japanese on the fly during any given verse, baring her fixations (the park, pets, gaming) one track at a time. Her idiosyncratic vocal style, flitting from detached monotone raps to chanting exuberance, demands a shedding of all pretense on the part of the listener. If you want to hang out at her party, you have to be able to reciprocate her 可愛過ぎる vibes. But, for all the cutesiness on the surface, Sarah’s lyrical content proves to be more nuanced than naive in its treatment of stereotypes (“It’s often said / I should get some girly hobbies instead”) and expectations of feminine behavior (“Child producing machine / That’s what nature has designed me to be”).

Intro Bonito is out now via Double Denim records. Challenge them to the video game of your choice at your own risk, even if you’re an android.

• Kero Kero Bonito: https://www.facebook.com/kerokerobonito
• Double Denim: http://www.doubledenimrecords.com

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CHOCOLATE GRINDER is our audio/visual section, with an emphasis on the lesser heard and lesser known. We aim to dig deep, but we’ll post any song or video we find interesting, big or small.

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