Maybe We Could, the sophomore record from Melbourne duo Kllo, almost never happened. After their 2017 debut LP Backwater, cousins Chloe Kaul and Simon Lam felt submerged – “the band became everything to us.”
Backwater celebrated the ever-changing tides of Kllo’s young adulthood, which were subsequently compounded by the international tours and festival slots the album brought. Since, they drifted apart temporarily, embarking on solo projects and new creative relationships. However, Maybe We Could see a suave reincarnation of their debut’s blend of heart-wrenching vocals, and dewy, 90s-inflected dance beats. The sartorial styling of the album’s artwork is reflected in its sound – as they explain, “We’re a little bit older now.” The tranquil waters of Maybe We Could’s 10 tracks prove this, and that Kllo is once-again anchored together.
Title track “Maybe We Could” alternates between vocal-chops and Kaul’s yearning pleas like “Where we off to now?/ wearing all the doubt / I am here to listen / but I can’t point it out.” The pursuit of impulses is a propulsive force this time around, with the phrase Maybe We Could, an emblem of the pair’s experimental approach in the studio.
The melancholy of “Insomnia” exemplifies this, in a cut that captures the liminal haze between consciousness and sleep. It’s both elegiac and sanguine, with Kaul conceding to unrequited love, whilst dreaming of what could have been. Her subdued vocals levitate on the cusp of the lyrics’ consonants, and the caressed piano chords of Lam’s production.
The proceeding “My Gemini” sees a graduation deeper into the night – with murky, staccato synths paving the way for Kaul’s new-found incantations: “In the night/ feel it go/ catch a ride/ take it slow.” And the UK-garage guitars and fluttering beats of “Somehow,” lead us to sunrise.
On album highlight “Still Here,” Kaul’s tear-stained vocals are draped over Lam’s 90s break-beats, as they delve into a suffocating relationship. Originally a piano-ballad, the finished product exemplifies the pair’s alchemic blend in which Kaul’s tangible crooning of lines like “Do you notice I’m not going anywhere?”, soars into a chorus that’s somehow equal in its heartache and rapture.
Closing track “Just Checking In” is characterized by its ear-worm hook and skipping a beat, that peters out so unassumingly, the two simply amble away. The hazy oasis Kllo inhabits has never been needed more. Maybe We Could stay there forever…