‘Only Acting’ marks a sonic shift for pop trio Kero Kero Bonito

Wednesday, February 14, 2018 - 12:30pm

NOSELL

Double Denim Records

Kero Kero Bonito’s newest single “Only Acting” finds the British trio experimenting with elements of rock ‘n’ roll, punk and industrial music. The track opens simply, with a drum machine and vocalist Sarah Midori Perry delivering her signature light, comfortable flow. An easy bassline works its way in next — a definite sonic shift for Kero Kero Bonito — which is then followed by a crescendoing flurry of harsh synth. It’s exciting to see Kero Kero Bonito, well known for their stellar saccharine J-pop style, experimenting with sounds that are a little edgier and more intense.

The real payoff of “Only Acting” is the interplay between Perry’s lyrics and the new techniques employed. Perry opens with an assertion: “When I step onto the stage, I see the curtain raise / It’s apparent, I’ve got someone to play.” The couplet is a tongue-in-cheek nod to how embodying an aesthetic can be useful, but also limiting. In Kero Kero Bonito’s case, Perry is making it clear that the past pop-centric style has become cumbersome, and that the group is ready to grow out of it. However, that isn’t to say that they completely abandon the fun, sugary electro-pop that put them on the map. That same energy is infused with a tense desire for release, culminating in skipping effects, errant cymbals and synth as the track trips over itself during the final moments. “Only Acting” is a morsel of what the next iteration of Kero Kero Bonito will sound like — innovative, self-aware but as fun as ever.