Australian duo KLLO bring their endearing and brilliant electronica rife with emotion to debut album ‘Backwater’. Standing out from the crowd, the record expertly explores boundaries between RnB, garage, ambient and house music; an album that simultaneously makes you want to dance and cry.
Following on from earlier success with 2014 EP ‘Cusp’ and 2016’s ‘Well Worn’, ‘Backwater’ finds KLLO confidently firming their sound.
The vocals, melancholy and melodic, perfectly find a place above beds of samples, synths and beats. As evident by their live performances, KLLO are an impressive force to be seen, verging on straying into the territory of the so-called resident advisor ‘producer’, the duo again and again present excellent beats; the songs leap forward, powerful with lots of expressivity. ‘Backwater’ is inherently a sad affair, on tracks such as ‘Last Yearn’ and ‘Predicament’, the gloom is set aside by the rhythm, climbing synths and groove.
Lyrically, the album, whilst principally dealing with it, is not an outpouring of love. Instead it deals in the day-to-day, small things that exist within everyone’s lives. Often lyrics are ambiguous and frequent sampling on tracks such as ‘Virtue’ and ‘Dissolve’ creates a busy space, distancing itself from the music and providing escapism. Complementing this, the rhythmic complexity of the beats is spacious and sophisticated. Almost always the drums leave space for the vocals, guiding the songs on, avoiding any dragged-out phrases.
Listen to ‘Dissolve’ below:
‘Backwater’ as a piece of work holds together excellently, each song lends very well to the others. Interim instrumentals ‘Slow Motion’ and title track ‘Backwater’ are apt at holding the seams of the record together. However, each track builds its own space and own presence, tracks such as ‘Downfall’ and ‘Nylon’ don’t feel like they make an effort to transport the listener away but always succeed on every listen. The diversion provided is something that suits listening to alone with headphones; all the while fitting the particular loneliness a club provides. As a consequence of this, the record sits very well in both environments.
With their debut record, KLLO have hit on a winning formula for combining dance music with the sentimentality and depth of their lyrics. ‘Backwater’ is a sophisticated and brilliant release, holding attention strikingly from start to finish. The duo leave space to breathe and think, making a debut that shows the effort put in.
‘Backwater’ by KLLO is released on Friday, preorder here – iTunes | Amazon | bandcamp