Kllo: Backwater

- When I reviewed Kllo's Well Worn EP last year, I was super stoked to hear the progression from their very first release. It felt cliched to state that the Melbourne based, electronic pop duo had, quite literally, taken everything up a notch from their debut, but facts are facts and Kllo seemed destined and primed for a cheeky insertion into the upper echelon of Australia's blooming electronic landscape.

Fourteen painfully short months later and Kllo have certainly made their majestic presence known, stamping their brand of succulent and soul drenching two-step in the hearts of misunderstood bedroom-ravers across the globe. Their impending debut full-length is crafted, in-part, amidst whirlwind world tours, isolated from the comforts of home and under the unnerving pressure associated with human beings starting to pay attention en masse.

Apparently not overly keen to rest on their laurels, Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam brought their new song ideas, experiences and emotions home with them, finding a safe haven in Lam's bungalow, hunkering down to turn those loose ideas into something worthy of their ensuing full-length record; and minor spoiler alert for those playing along at home, Kllo do not miss a beat.

For that eventuating record, Backwater, I'm going to try and keep my outward gushing and cliches to a bare minimum, but I am only human and not an exceptionally great one at that. There was never any denying that Kllo have an intangible spark that separates them from the rest of the pack, the only question which remained was whether the duo were able to sustain their unrelenting brilliance across a complete album; another spoiler, they most definitely can.

Backwater digs its claws in deep; its incredibly personal themes and mesmerising musical undercurrents wash over me with this profuse intensity that resonates with my very being. Lam's production is rich, dense and layered without ever becoming messy, chaotic or convoluted. His beats ebb and flow between immediately intoxicating and creeping slow-burn; crafting a subtle and otherworldly tapestry that create the perfect soundscape for Kaul's ethereal, contemporary r'n'b vocal that is as cathartic as it is soulful, heartfelt and often draped in a restrained sadness and sombre tone.

Backwater conjures up similar emotions that the debut records of the XX and James Blake did for a younger version of yours truly. It's sombre dance music that perfectly soundtracks those semi-aimless and contemplative walks in which your headphones are the only appropriate companion for your inner turmoil. The kind of music that makes me want to sit in rain and let the god's angry tears slowly wash the evil from my extremities as I contemplate  my place in the world and my purpose, or lack thereof. It's also a strangely comforting and reassuring record that makes me feel at ease with my existence and tumultuous nature of being.

Backwater is a very insular dance record and there's something intrinsically downbeat and reflective about the whole affair that resonates in some dark place. It's a record that despite its upbeat moments, is drenched in a deep and melancholy intensity that feels akin to a jilted and hypnotising longing for something just out of arms reach. Backwater is a record for those that like their electronic music to be more interesting and meaningful than the norm; people whom prefer to rave on the inside than the outside. I for one will be hosting many solo, downer, dance parties in my head for many moons to come.

- Jay Edwards.

Album Details

Album Title: Backwater
Artist: Kllo
Record Label: (Good Manners / Caroline / Universal)