Kllo, an electronic pop collaboration between Melbourne cousins Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam, waded in figurative backwater for much of 2016, amidst an extensive world tour. These were exciting times; the duo's Well Worn EP furthered the promise of 2014 EP Cusp, receiving millions of streams and landing Kllo on festival stages as well as Artists-to-Watch lists. Nonetheless, the stretch kept them far from home, isolated and vulnerable, treading through perpetual uncharted territory while yearning for the comforts of the familiar.
Kllo have officially come out the other end of the stilted estuary with twelve compositions cultivated to feel timeless and crafted, and equally current. The duo's debut full length - and their most realized work to date - Backwater celebrates the ephemeral and the enduring changes in emotion, the downfalls and the dissolves. It's an album that parts course with its flow, and flourishes in a lowland. The LP format finds Kllo with more room to breathe and sync their rhythms with emotions. Kaul's smoky voice emanates with assurance and leisure. Lam's production invents brooding, steely undercurrents hemmed with charming crescendos.
They use these warm-cool dynamics to convey strain; see the bubbling arpeggiated synth lines of the closure-seeking "Last Yearn" or the solace afforded by the tender piano ballad, "Nylon" to experience the bewitching confluences. "Virtue" has it all at once. Slow to arc, the lead single hushes, stutters, and syncopates before locking into a club-ready groove in its second minute. The title track is a transitional drift; a wordless translation of looping in place, free from the forward moving constraints of the current. "Making Distractions" addresses the inaction head-on, with Kaul opting not to lay down until satisfied as Lam surrounds a downtempo beat with low-lit atmospherics and a bedside music box of samples.