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Eyelike: Block B may lose identity with new concept

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Published : 2014-08-01 20:59
Updated : 2014-08-02 16:37

Block B may lose identity with new concept

Block B
“Her”
(CJ E&M)

The seven members of Block B have returned with the love-themed EP “Her,” which moves away from their typical quirky and upbeat style and instead features cutesy tunes best described as “less macho.”

Though the boy band understandably steers in this new direction in a bid to show off its wider musicality and boyish charm, it seems that the new EP potentially tarnishes the group’s established style and core identity ― being silly, energetic and most importantly, impactful.

The EP’s title track “Her” detracts the least from the group’s typical style. The song kicks off with an energetic, unified chant and clapping by all of the members then launches into a groovy, upbeat melody infused with funky guitar riffs. The catchy and repetitive chorus, in which the members repeat the word “her,” has elements of pop as well as a gospel choir at times.

The two other tracks “Unordinary Girl” and “Embrace Me Now” are slower, melodic songs about love that show off the members’ individual vocals and harmonies.

Though the songs are not particularly bad, they certainly do not come off as tunes that ring “Block B” in the minds of listeners. In fact, it is difficult to discern these new tracks from the countless K-pop songs by other boy bands.

Given as such, it seems that though the group is capable of pulling off a “lovely” image, Block B is perhaps better off sticking to its roots as the quirky and fun group in order to continue standing out from the myriad of K-pop boy bands in Korea.

The group’s previous hits including “Jackpot” and a remastered “rough” version of “Very Good” are included on the album as well, reminding listeners of what Block B is known for and is good at.

(jiyoung.sohn@heraldcorp.com)

 

Muscle, menace from Drenge on debut album

Drenge
“Drenge”
(Infectious Music)

British rock duo Drenge’s self-titled debut is pretty much perfect.

That’s not a word critics of any kind should throw around lightly, and it’s not done so here.

Young 20-something brothers Eoin and Rory Loveless distill almost everything that’s been great about rock ‘n’ roll over the last 25 years into 12 diamond-cut songs on their U.S. debut.

Most of “Drenge” is a flurry of punches, scraped knuckles, teeth on the floor and the sound of a switchblade clicking open, leaving the listener with a giddy sense of euphoria that was common in rock ‘n’ roll’s pre-malaise days but is truly hard to come by now.

Any guitar-and-drums duo is going to draw comparisons with The Black Keys and Jack White’s White Stripes, and the boys do capture the same kind of bravado those acts had in their two-piece days. But they’ve also ingested Josh Homme’s swaggering sneer, Nirvana’s elegant anger, Mudhoney’s noirish sense of humor, Weezer’s melodic compulsion, The Arctic Monkeys’ unshakable confidence and Built to Spill’s appreciation for epic drama.

The album opens with the down-tuned mood setter “People in Love Make Me Feel Yuck” before careening down a darkened highway with the lights off on the three-song run of “Dogmeat,” “I Want to Break You in Half” and “Bloodsports.” The brothers never let up, building the pace with “Gun Crazy,” “I Don’t Want to Make Love to You” and “Nothing” before unleashing the sprawling eight-minute “Let’s Pretend,” a study in post-punk slow build that finishes like Thor’s hammer.

Yep, pretty much perfect. 

(AP)


Petty‘s rock ‘n’ roll triumph

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers
“Hypnotic Eye”
(Reprise)

Tom Petty isn’t singing about himself on his new tune, “Forgotten Man,” but he can’t be blamed for thinking like that.

The music world has moved on from the days when Tom Petty and his Heartbreakers were among its leaders. So what to do? They can give up, go country, become a walking jukebox or stand and fight.

They’ve decided to take a stand, based on the evidence of this stunning new disc. “Hypnotic Eye” is testament to the enduring power of blues-based rock ‘n’ roll. The Heartbreakers are among the best rock bands still working, and this disc is the type of showcase it hasn’t had for decades.

Mike Campbell’s fluid guitar, Benmont Tench’s unparalleled keyboards, Ron Blair’s surprisingly melodic bass and Steve Ferrone’s drums -- it’s a veteran band that plays with confidence and precision. Petty brings the songs, hook-laden and filler-free, speaking to the strivers and dreamers who have always made up his audience. The sound is classic but never dated.

Were this the summer of 1984, “Faultlines,” ‘’Red River,” “Forgotten Man” and “Sins of My Youth” would be constants on the radio. It’s no fault of his that time and trends are different now.

You’d be wise, however, not to forget Tom Petty. (AP)


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