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Hyukoh releases new EP, “24: How To Find True Love and Happiness,” and upcoming tour

Hyukoh has been a well-known indie rock band in the Korean music industry for the past few years, where idol groups normally dominate. Their albums have the pattern of being named after the age of the members at the time of release, with songs that tend to revolve around themes of life; oftentimes addressing its complications. Features that often capture the listeners’ attention include the lead singer’s relaxed, raw, and often raspy vocals. The band is also known for being a little quirky, from their usual quietness to wearing over-sized suits in many performances. Despite being so popular in what can be a somewhat conservative industry, they have no problem being unconventional and straying from the safe route in order to do what they enjoy. For their new EP, 24: How To Find True Love and Happiness, Hyukoh made some changes from what they’ve done in the past. As the title suggests, they took a turn from writing mainly about the struggles in life and instead focused on some more positive topics. Additionally, while their previous songs are mostly sung in Korean, they decided to write 24‘s six songs almost fully in English; which the band has stated was largely for diction*.

One of the six songs is the title track,”Love Ya;” which is dedicated to lovers all over the world. It starts out with a very light, mellow tune that leads to a burst of euphoria during the chorus, indicating how blissful it can be to love someone. The music video highlights the theme and meaning of the song by consistently showing dozens of lovers of all different backgrounds that are simply enjoying life and each other’s company. What’s beautiful about the video is that it shows and celebrates how incredibly diverse love truly is.

“Gang Gang Schiele” has almost a little bit more of a folk feel, continuously following a percussive beat that almost resembles footsteps stomping along to both acoustic guitar and alternating thin, higher-pitched electric guitar riffs. It’s a song that the band has described as being hopeful, particularly for the two sides of Korea to reunify, as well as being an apology to an old friend.* Being a song about hope, it’s not necessarily highly upbeat and happy, nor is it sad or dampening. It’s the light and calming tone that they’ve mastered well throughout their career, while also being somewhat uplifting.

“Citizen Kane” is the heavier and more driven song on the album, where the lead singer’s voice stays soft for the most part, in contrast to the angry instrumentation. The track has a faster tempo that slows down a bit during the chorus while keeping up the intensity as multiple vocals sing a deep, almost battle chant-like melody alongside the drums before the guitar jumps back in to pick the rhythm up to full force again. It’s a tune that you could see a whole audience belting and pumping their fists to. This song’s theme takes us back a little to some of their previous music by being on the darker side, seemingly talking about the struggles of fighting and finding your way through life.

In past albums, Hyukoh has incorporated more influences from other genres; but while shifting their overall tone and subject matter, here they’ve maintained their soft, organic rock sound that so many find soothing and relaxed, even with faster-paced songs. Generally, they manage to keep a decent balance between their more sentimental songs, their light jams, and their upbeat alternative rock songs. An increased presence of the band in western music could potentially be expected, looking at factors such as the full English songs that even include a bitter-sweet track called “Goodbye Seoul.” Their upcoming tour through several countries includes North America, link to dates/tickets below:

https://www.facebook.com/HYUKOHofficial/app/123966167614127/

Hyukoh, “Love Ya” official video

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aKHbqm-D62Y

 

*http://english.yonhapnews.co.kr/culturesports/2018/05/31/0701000000AEN20180531010000315.html