A London trio dedicated to the power of radical positivity in pop, Kero Kero Bonito make bright, shiny songs indebted to J-pop, video game music, and dancehall. Led by the lighter-than-air vocals and vivid visuals of Sarah Midori Perry, the group's sound evolved from the playful electropop of its early singles and 2016's full-length Bonito Generation to the more complex, punk-inspired territory of 2018's Time 'n' Place.
Kero Kero Bonito formed in the early 2010s when producers and multi-instrumentalists Gus Lobban (who also records as Kane West and Augustus) and Jamie Bulled (who also makes music as Wharfwhit) decided to form a pop band with a direct sound and international appeal. The former schoolmates searched for a vocalist on MixB, an online forum for Japanese expatriates. They found Sarah Midori Perry, a half-Japanese, half-English artist who had moved to the U.K. at age 13 and developed the band's subversively cute visuals.
Kero Kero Bonito's debut single, "Coursework Story," appeared in 2012 and was followed by a slew of tracks as well as the 2014 mixtape Bonito Intro. Later that year, Bonito Recycling featured Intro Bonito remixes by Danny L. Harle and Spazzkid. The trio released its debut album, Bonito Generation, in 2016 and chased it with Bonito (Retakes), an EP of remixes by artists including Frankie Cosmos, CFCF, and Saint Etienne, the following year.
Kero Kero Bonito went in a different direction with 2018's Totep EP and its single "Only Acting," incorporating punky guitars and live drums into their music. The single also appeared on the trio's second full-length, Time 'n' Place, which found Kero Kero Bonito exploring rock, orchestral, and noise elements. Recorded in Lobban's bedroom as well as with engineer Jimmy Robertson and former Stereolab drummer Andy Ramsay, the album arrived in October 2018. A year later, the band switched gears again with the Civilisation I EP, which adopted a colder electronic sound that reflected its darker messages about government corruption and climate change. ~ Heather Phares