Melbourne duo - and cousins - Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam don’t share the same sibling bond as the Devendorfs or Gallaghers. Every moment on their debut album comes from an experimentation process played out in public.
Backwater comes a few years after Kllo's debut EP Cusp was released into the world, meaning the nascent duo suddenly found themselves playing live and touring the world with literally every single song they'd ever written. No time to experiment, no time to develop a sound by locking themselves in a studio away from prying eyes and ears.
Yet the Australian duo's first full-length feels whole and complete, and with a distinctive sound. Drawing from a variety of '90s sources, in particular the UK Garage and 2-Step scene, and unearthing a mature, complex songwriter - with a gorgeous singing voice - in Kaul, Kllo has pulled off something of a trick.
Rather than turning these influences into a densely-produced record, Lam (the electronics and production side of Kllo) has kept the spirit of the '90s by filling these songs with space. So a dancefloor jam like "Virtue" goes two ways; it bangs hard, relentlessly so, but Lam creates grace notes for Kaul's voice and lyrics to breathe to make it almost singer-songwriter in style.
The same happens on "Making Distractions"; a song about Kaul's writers' block, it's an intense song filled with angst and worry, growing pains and homesickness...yet Lam adds ticking, restless percussion, warm synths and vocal triggers to make it a writhing slow jam perfect for that moment just before the lights go up where the urge to have some human contact overwhelms.
If Backwater, made across the world and somehow pulled together back in Lam's Melbourne studio, is what Kllo can achieve in the eye of the storm then whatever comes next has to be worth looking out for.