Kero Kero Bonito

Time 'n' Place

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    7
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AllMusic Review by

Between Bonito Generation and Time 'n' Place, Kero Kero Bonito experienced losses ranging from the deaths of family members and pets to the destruction of childhood homes. To cope, they gave themselves room to grow and heal, and their second album delivers a mix of cathartic rock and imaginative synth pop. Changes like the ones KKB underwent can be jarring, and Time 'n' Place reflects that by bookending its songs with two of the band's biggest departures. The noisy guitar and synth collage "Outside" begins the album with a prelude of all the sounds Kero Kero Bonito explore on the rest of Time 'n' Place, while "Rest Stop" ends it with a dense collision of electronics that underscores how important the element of surprise is on this album. In between these jarring tracks, Kero Kero Bonito broaden their sound in unexpected ways -- "If I'd Known" splatters their breezy pop with heavily distorted guitars -- and delve into unusually poignant topics on "Visiting Hours" and "Dump," a junkyard lullaby that feels like an extension of their own transformation. Elsewhere, KKB use imagination as a tool for reinvention, and self-referential songs like the crunchy guitar pop of "Only Acting," the bittersweet "Make Believe," and the pocket symphony "Dear Future Self" are among Time 'n' Place's finest moments. Not all of the album's changes are dramatic; "Swimming" and "Time Today" deliver the band's trademark charm with a touch of newfound sophistication that makes them all the more winning. Time 'n' Place might not be quite as cohesive as Bonito Generation, but it offers a fuller portrait of Kero Kero Bonito's music without losing any of the spark that makes them special.

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