One of the more surprising (and glorious) musical reinventions of 2018 arrived in the form of Kero Kero Bonito’s sophomore album, Time ’n’ Place. The British indie-pop band’s earlier releases—2014’s Intro Bonito and 2016’s Bonito Generation—were characterized by chiptune instrumentation, manic song structures, and unabashedly tasteless production choices. Beginning with 2018’s TOTEP EP, Kero Kero Bonito ditched the programmed drums and Super Mario 64 samples in favor of more “traditional” instrumentation—guitars, vocals, bass, and drums. (Though many of the band’s newer songs remain ornamented with their signature glitchy synths.) To say the group’s latest LP delivered on the promise of TOTEP would be an understatement; Time ’n’ Place is damn close to being a perfect pop record. It’s fun without feeling lightweight, indelible without ever becoming cloying, and meaningful without seeming pretentious.
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