[REVIEW] Kimono Loco’s debut EP - ‘Hello, How Are You?’

By Alex Brown - 17.9.18

London-based Kimono Loco (formerly known as Regions) have released their debut EP, Hello, How Are You? Today via Nothing Important RecordsProduced by none other than acclaimed Irish producer and Westwood Studios engineer, Shane Shanahan (Kygo, Scott Walker, Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Frank Ocean & more), alongside the band’s own vocalist James Hofbauer

Without reading too much into the group, I did a review of their EP as the sound they create immediately caught my attention. Best described as a crossover between the musical elements of The 1975 with the vocal style of Bastille, I initially thought that Hello, How Are You? would be another knockoff EP, but I was delightfully mistaken. 

See below a review of Kimono Loco’s Hello, How Are You?:

EP Tracklist: 
1) I Swear
2) Big Boy
3) Swim
4) Lucky Little Liar
5) Fright Night
The first thing you notice about Kimono Loco’s EP, is the eye-catching artwork. Similar to the artwork for first single ‘Big Boy’, the white box around the art in the centre really draws your eye to the warm colours that pop out in between the easy to read text. Easily some of the best album covers I’ve come across in a while. It’s simple, yet functional. 

‘I Swear’, the opening track to Hello, How Are You? takes no time for a slow-building intro to accommodate the listener to what’s about to unfold. ‘I Swear’ kicks off the EP with a fun indie-pop track fused with 80s effects and guitar licks. The pre-chorus is filled with rising synth as you wait in anticipation to be released. Easily one of the best parts of an already stellar track, albeit nothing overly complicated. ‘I Swear’ is a fun track and a powerful start for what’s to come. 

Unfortunately by the time you get to ‘Big Boy’, some of the momentum is lost. It confuses me why Kimono Loco decided to lead their EP with a release and video for ‘Big Boy’ as the rest of the tracks are so strong. ‘Big Boy’ drips head to toe in electro-pop cliches and attempts to bring back musical trends we’ve heard a thousand times over. Despite all of this, the song is a lot of fun, which might be the point. Not only does it have exciting melodies, but it sounds as if the group had a lot of enjoyment creating this. The final minute of this song almost made me delete everything else I wrote about this track, as the song culminates in explosive basslines, guitar and synth. Sadly, I was left wanting more, especially after that climactic ending.

One of my favourite tracks from Hello, How Are You?, is ‘Swim’. Unlike ‘Big Boy’, ‘Swim’ takes all the best elements from the 80s and breathes new life into it, giving it their own Kimono Loco spin. It’s easy to imagine this song being the theme song to an arcade game’s marketing campaign while driving down the coastline in some picturesque city like Miami. Every single piece that makes up Kimono Loco shines in ‘Swim’. The simple yet effective guitar riffs sprinkled throughout the song really makes it standout. Even the vocal modulation towards the end is done tastefully, bringing to a close the track that’s arguably the highlight of Hello, How Are You?.
In ‘Lucky Little Liar’ we see the group tone it down a notch for a stadium-ballad that you’ll also be able to groove along to. With each passing second, the track builds as the guitars pick up, the drums begin rolling in, the vocals start climbing; each element helps this song grow to a solid track on the EP. 
The ending of ‘Lucky Little Liar’ left me wanting more, as it ends a bit sudden, but it doesn’t take away from the fact that the group has proven with ‘Lucky Little Liar’ that they can be heartfelt if they want to. 

The EP closer, ‘Fright Night’ is arguably one of the strongest tracks on the EP. My other favourite song on Hello, How Are You?. The group has a lot of fun with this track, especially with their highly addictive pre-chorus (and chorus). ‘Fright Night’ is a great example of how to finish of a debut EP, as it will climb into your brain and refuse to leave. An ear-worm of note, I can only imagine that this song must be incredible to see live.

The debut EP from UK-based Kimono Loco, Hello, How Are You?, is a fun lighthearted romp into delectable indie-pop, albeit it doesn’t really challenge any ideas as you won’t find anything new in this 5-track record. That doesn’t mean that it wasn’t a joy to listen to. Most of the EP is fun and you will definitely get your money’s worth. As far as debut EPs go, Kimono Loco can feel proud of the release of Hello, How Are You?.

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