A Nostalgic Wake-Up Call | “Battle Lines” – Kero Kero Bonito

Kyle Davidson, Writer/Volunteer

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Kero Kero Bonito has come a long way from their first release Intro Bonito in 2014. What started as an experimental fusion of electro-pop, J-pop and hip-hop, transitioned to noise rock, then made the jump to indie rock shortly after. Their newest release Civilisation I continues to follow this trend of moving from genre to genre.

This EP is one of the most interesting releases in the band’s discography thus far. Similar to the transition from Bonito Generation to Totep, Civilisation I brought forward an unexpected new sound with its release. Of all three tracks on this EP, Battle Lines stands out as the most unique.

Being the first song off of Civilisation I, “Battle Lines” front loads the new EP by creating a blend of the old and new Kero Kero Bonito. While the fast pace and retro video game samples heard on the band’s debut album return on this track, the light lyrics about partying, walking through the forest and pocket crocodiles do not. Instead, vocalist Sarah Bonito leads listeners to the realization that war has permeated humanity and that violence and chaos are now expected aspects of daily life.

While the message is one of doom and gloom, the instrumentals tell a different story. Provided by the other two members of Kero Kero Bonito, Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled, the synthesizer and aforementioned sampling add a calming and ancient atmosphere to the track that highlights the wisdom behind Bonito’s vocals.

This new release brings a lot to the table, serving as an introduction to the next era of Kero Kero Bonito. By mixing the instrumental stylings that carried the band to commercial success with the lyrical subjects found in their most recent releases, this song has something for each type of Kero Kero Bonito fan. One thing is certain, Kero Kero Bonito has traded their upbeat hip-hop reputation for a more politically aware approach to their music. Touching on subject matters like war and climate change, it’s clear the band has a lot to say. With the approach taken by “Battle Lines,” “When the Fires Come” and “The River,” it seems they have a whole new way of getting their message out.

Featured image by Mia Sakai; retrieved from Detroit Metro Times.