Review Album: 23 by Hyukoh(2017)



When the entire world is still infected by K-Pop virus and in Indonesia, ‘ukhti-ukhti anyeonghaseo’ still cause some chaos in airport while their idols are barely landed, some talented dorky boys with a fresh music to breath in South Korea starting to shine since these 3 years and now become much bigger and bigger. Hyukoh is their name, obtained from their vocalist named Oh Hyuk. They started as act in underground scene but then 2015 signed for HIGHGRND. HIGHGRND is a sublabel from YG Entertainment which also raised some supergroups like BIGBANG and 2NE1.

23 is the first full album they released to date. 23 refers to their age when this album is released. Oh Hyuk stated on some interview that this album is made for the youth in South Korea who mostly struggling for better life. South Korean youth these days realized that things aren’t getting easier even to  get a job. So Hyukoh dedicate this album for them, therefore 23 contains mixed feeling from misery, depression, solitude, even hope. This album used three languages including Chinese, Korean, and English.

The garage rock vibe in this album is very dence. We can notice some influence from various alternative rock around such as Blur, Arctic Monkeys, etc. The only thing that make them different is an unique and powerful vocal from Oh Hyuk. Some notable tracks in this album are Tokyo Inn, Leather Jacket, Tomboy, Jesus Lived in Motel Room, Wanli, and Surf Boy. Tokyo Inn is the second track which is my personal favourite in this album with a killer intro and Arctic Monkeys’s WPSIATWIN vibe. Then Leather Jacket as a title track from 23. Leather Jacket reminds me to ‘Come and Goes’ which is the most recognizeable song from Hyukoh with faster pace. No wonder Leather Jacket placed as the title track. Next song is Tomboy, which is the most slow paced track in the entire album, but with best vocal performance from Oh Hyuk. Tomboy is so beautiful yet heartbreaking. Next is 2002WorldCup, which refers to their country, if you know a little about football indeed. This song is so much fun, carried up by great instruments and choir in the end. Jesus Lived in a motel room is also a great track and fantastic guitar riff at the end. Next track is Wanli which is likely the only track to be written in Chinese. Wanly also remind me a bit of Knight Of Cydonia from Muse. Wanly is so majestic thus it would be perfect to be 007 movie someday.  Next song is Surf Boy which remind me a bit of the  golden age of Blur. Surf Boy is perfect for your daily tune when facing traffic jam every Monday morning.



Overall, 23 is truly a fresh and decent album as well, indeed. Especially for those being saturated by abundant stock of Kpop songs released every month from various agency but with the same formula(except from YG, hehe). No intention at all to be offensive, but we already know from the review above that Hyukoh offers something different from mostly Kpop artist with their great talent instead of good looking stereotype. So yeah, how can we not love Hyukoh?

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