Kero Kero Bonito’s new album Time ’n’ Place is a new direction for the group following their debut album Bonito Generation. The new direction brings in influences from alt rock and power pop; even paying tribute to their UK roots with Twee pop influences.
Time ‘n’ Place is a furthering of the group’s mixtape TOTEP with more guitar-led songs. The lead single from the mixtape, Only Acting, even makes it onto the album. There are lots of similarities between Time ‘n’ Place and Bonito Generation also; Time ‘n’ Place carries on the synthpop sound of Bonito Generation in some parts. The themes of growing up, being an adult and maintaining your inner child are present on both albums also.
However, where the two truly differ is in the cohesiveness of the projects. Bonito Generation carried its J-Pop and electropop influences consistently throughout the album. Even though the TOTEP mixtape went in a new direction sonically, it maintained a consistent sound throughout. Time ‘n’ Place however changes sound from track to track leaving the album sounding disjointed. This isn’t a bad thing though, as it plays into the title of the album and allows the band to play with sounds and themes in an unrestrained manner.
The standout moments on the album are ‘Dear Future Self’; a song with is both melancholic and upbeat as it delves into personal identity and growing up. ‘Swimming’ is another reflective and explorative song that ponders life and finding a direction and purpose in life. ‘Flyway’ is also a standout on the album with its stripped back instrumental and the dreamy voice lamenting a desire to migrate along with birds.
Overall, the album sees Kero Kero Bonito mature from the first album. Themes from Bonito Generation are carried over but expanded on from a more mature viewpoint. This is also shown in the music, with the group expanding out from synth and J-pop, with a more cultivated and diverse sound that tackles introspective issues. If Bonito Generation was the celebration of the inner child, Time ‘n’ Place is the curiosity and exploration of teenage life. This album is well worth your time.