It's Kero Kero Bonito! How wonderful! How thrilling to hear new sounds from them. And how great it is to hear that these soundular visions of the London trio are still tantamount to the apex of uniqueness in music right now. Experimental music is not always unique; some experiments with sound do sound alike. But nobody would necessarily describe KKB's sound as an "experimental" one, yet this is what they are doing: experimenting – with pushing the boundaries of what they can include in an underground pop song, the instruments they can use and song structure.
Aside from what is essentially a trademark of Kero Kero Bonito's sound – a bouncy beat painted with a decidedly drum-machine aesthetic, fuzzy electronics and synthetic chords – 'Chicken' continues with adding in whatever novel things can be added without it feeling saturated or overcooked. Sarah, with only a small rap-sing-speaking part in Japanese this time around, expounds on the virtues of dancing, and urges all listeners to not stand with their backs to the walls and to instead take to the dancefloor and move around.
A specific image in this moving around, i.e. dancing, is that of a shark nibbling at your feet if you don't move them fast enough, or rather, if you don't move them at all. In a similar vein to the popular game/past-time/hobby (???) "the floor is lava," and taking a leaf out of the "the floor is ____" foundation, we are inducted once more into the unconventional, fun world of Kero Kero Bonito through their interpretation of old-hat standards like "dance for one more night, we only have this one night until blah blah~♪" or "shut up and dance~♪" or "we are in so much pain and sorrow we dance it away tonight~♪" etc. etc. Where pop/EDM songs say it with cliché and melodrama, KKB say it with flowers (pretty ones) and a bag of sweets, with a slice of inventiveness and playful innocence that feels missing in today's musical landscape.
Add to this a full metal section that hammers out a crunching riff with MIDI instruments – who else would do this to a song? – complete with a few growled vocals; and also, after the line "If you don't move, the shark's gonna steal your shoes", a wonderful sample: anybody who knows this chomping sound will know the true terror of Snacker the Shark from Banjo-Kazooie. Snacker is faster than you, sort of guards items you need to get from underwater, and comes complete with a Jaws-esque theme whenever he gets near – plus he jeers you with lines like "Snacker smells tasty dinner, stay just there!" and "Coffee and mints? I'll be right over!" – all in all making for a genuinely harrowing experience.
This all combines for a track that's high in carefree attitude, low in gravity, and generally a bubbling refreshment taken in the context of, possibly a backlash to, a "serious" "dance music" "scene" currently spilling its faux-emotional (fauxmotional) guts all over the world. Even by itself, with no context, with no nothing, this music is undeniably upbeat: listenable, followable, adorable. And you can download 'Chicken' for free – lovely~
- KKB are going on a North American tour in October and will be playing a few dates with none other than Skylar Spence (fka Saint Pepsi)!
- And please if you feel like it go check out a YES/NO Lazy Interview with Kero Kero Bonito.