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Korean Rock Recall: The Peppertones Push Their Sound To The Far Reaches Of The Universe On 2014's 'Solar System Super Stars' [VIDEO]

By Jeff Tobias | July 02, 2015 09:21 AM EDT


Anyone familiar with the global pop music scene knows that in that blindingly bright arena, appearances count for plenty. Yet, inner confidence can often trump superficial style.

Take the 2014 song "Solar System Super Stars" by The Peppertones. On this utterly rocking single, this South Korean act proves that attitude can go a long way towards making something special.

Over the past 10 years, The Peppertones have built up a discography of deeply substantial, playfully un-categorizable pop. "Solar System Super Stars" was released back in August on their most recent album, "High-Five." The Seoul-based band is centered around the duo of Jae Pyung Shin, also known as Sayo, and Jang Won Lee, who goes by the stage name Noshel.

While they took the Korean Music Award for Best Dance And Electronic Single in 2007, The Peppertones have demonstrated a fearless eclecticism that is bolstered by their flawless musicianship.

"Solar System Super Stars" harkens back to a time before electronic music was an era-defining genre.

Aside from the pristine production and a couple modern twists, "Solar System Super Stars" sees The Peppertones sounding like nothing so much as the Korean answer to Todd Rundgren.

The song is a worshipful appreciation for the majesty of the electric guitar. The muscled riffs and gnarly leads are all executed with enviable ease.

But in the video for "Solar System Super Stars," one can see that the Peppertones let the music be the medium for their attitude. No fancy costumes or goofy make-up is necessary; this is glam rock in name only. Think early Weezer, in terms of the contrast between well-aware rock n' roll moves and an everyman-ish, t-shirt-wearing appearance.

Of course, you don't need any gimmicks when the music is this solid.

While "Solar System Super Stars" isn't stylistically original, it does benefit from a thoughtful arrangement, particularly with regards to a well-placed bridge immediately following the first chorus. It's a perfect opportunity for some of the song's exemplary guitar artistry.

No two sections are exactly the same, with subtle additions such as a pulsing piano or a fun bass fill adding variation, without demanding attention. The song's climax comes in a buildup to the final chorus that is sent skyward with the help of some outrageous shredding that never flips the dial into tastelessness.

Overall, "Solar System Super Stars" is so undeniably great in its attitude and execution that it ably conjures the intergalactic imagery of the title. With music this vivid, anything visually ostentatious would just be distracting.

Sorry, style. With The Peppertones, substance wins the day.

Watch the music video for The Peppertones song "Solar System Super Stars" RIGHT HERE


Jeff Tobias is a composer, musician and writer currently living in Brooklyn, New York. As of late, he has been studying arcane systems of tuning and working on his jump shot. 

Tagged :  The Peppertones, Solar System Super Stars, High Five, Korean Rock Recall


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