Right in time for the season of leather jackets, Kep1er returned with a girl crush concept. Leaving its usual cute and perky image behind, the girl group dropped its third EP, “Troubleshooter,” Thursday evening.
This marks a return after nearly four months for the rookie K-pop act, since its second EP, “Doublast,” in June. Before releasing the new album, the band successfully forayed into Japan's music market with its Japanese debut album, “Fly-Up,” last month.
“It’s Kep1er’s third album, and my heart flutters whenever I make my comeback. We’ve wanted to show how we’ve matured since our debut through the new album, so I hope many would look forward to it. Also, people should keep an eye on our performance,” leader Yujin said during Thursday’s press conference.
"Troubleshooter" refers to a person who tries to make repairs, and the nine bandmates aim to solve such problems together by assembling as nine heroes, tweaking the band’s previous musical projects, which have focused on being cheerful.
Leading the five-song package is “We Fresh,” which is a piece of music with guitar sounds and frenzied house beats that combine for an up-tempo dance song. The words to the song talk about how Kep1er can push the envelope even as they confront difficulties.
“The song itself is like a message of hope. We want to convey that anybody can achieve anything if they take on whatever challenge is in front of them, and to not be afraid of what they have to face,” Young-eun said.
“If you carefully look at the music video, the nine members appear as characters with certain powers, and what we wanted to show through it was that any problem can be solved if people work together,” she added.
Mashiro shared her first impression of the song, saying she knew Kep1er had to put it out into the world.
“When I first heard the song, I instantly knew that it would suit us. I personally think that one of our strengths is our energetic performance on stage. With the new song, I’m sure we will be able to show that we can also sing, rap and perform on stage,” she said.
Other tracks that round out the album are: “Lion Tamer,” a track that shows Kep1er’s ambitions to lure those who listen to the band’s music; “Down Town,” a song on the nonet’s excitement for marching toward its dream; “Dreams,” which talks about someone wandering in their dreams; and “The Girls (Can’t Turn Me Down),” which the band performed on the second season of Mnet’s TV competition “Queendom.”
Going back to how Kep1er has matured since it was formed in January as the fan-picked winner of “Girls Planet 999,” Yujin without hesitation pinpointed: “our teamwork.”
“The new album is our fourth one, including the Japanese one. Now, we can understand each other just by exchanging looks, and I think that synergy is crucial when it comes to performing on stage (as a group). I believe that’s the reason that paved the way for better gigs. Each bandmate has improved in vocals as well,” the leader added.
Da-yeon chimed in, saying Kep1er’s musical journey is why she believes the band will make it big at a time when big-name K-pop acts are making their way back to the music charts.
“Since we’re a group formed through a survival show, many fans have been with us since then. And all the bandmates are a star on their own, which is something that we can be proud of,” she said.
At the end of the event, Huening Bahiyyih expressed hopes of winning No. 1 on music programs.
“We’ve received a lot of love and support since our debut. I hope the same will continue with our new album, and we’ll try our best to make it up to fans and others,” Chase-hyun said.
Kep1er’s five-track package hit global music platforms on Thursday at 6 p.m.