K-Pop Double Take is a weekly review column highlighting recent releases that have yet to receive the attention we feel they deserve.
There has been no shortage of love for Hyukoh in the last year.
The South Korean rock band has had three top 40 singles in the last year, including their number one smash "Comes And Goes." But the group's biggest musical accomplishment this year, has to be the innovative direction of their single "Hooka," released on May 28 as part of the EP "22."
The song reached number 10 on South Korea's pop charts, so it's not like it was an unknown track. But the overwhelming success of "Comes And Goes" clearly overshadowed the more daring track inside their native country. And in the West, unfortunately for both listeners and the band, Hyukoh just doesn't seem that well known yet.
But as always, the most important thing here is the music.
Opening with a cross between a choral chant and a Prince breakdown, Hyukoh make it clear that they are going with something new on "Hooka." Known for their sunny but heavily-produced pop sound similar to bands like Coldplay or more recent U2, it is encouraging to see the group embracing a more rootsy sound. There is some really great backup singing on "Hooka" to that end, supporting and building up another one of the solid hooks that have helped catapult the group to superstardom.
Rock and roll is a blues-based idiom, no matter how many digital effects you put on the instruments or laptops you have on stage. It's great to see that this group isn't afraid to dig in and get grittier. Could this be the start of something even badder and better?
Whatever it is, let's just hope Hyukoh use their newfound fame to seize control of their careers and push their music to new and exiting places. As they made clear on "Hooka," the group is clearly at their best when they throw out the script.
Watch the music video for South Korean indie rock band Hyukoh's top 10 single "Hooka" RIGHT HERE