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Review: SmackSoft Singer Whang Bo Ryung's Goes Acoustic On Her Solo EP 'As If Nothing Ever Happened' [VIDEO]

By Colin Langenus | May 23, 2014 06:30 PM EDT


Voices as raw and as real as Whang Bo Ryung aren't easy to come by.

Her singing style puts her in the company of Courtney Love, blues singers like Elizabeth Cotton and even male icons like Bob Dylan, vocalists who sing with their hearts on their sleeves, where emotion is the priority over virtuosity.

These are the types of singers that I love.

Whang portrays an honest version of herself in song, which is rare in not just today's whitewashed pop music but throughout the history of popular song.

With her Seoul-based band SmackSoft, Whang usually plays hard rock, almost sounding like Smashing Pumpkins or other 1990s alternative bands. That makes "As If Nothing Ever Happened," the singer's recent EP of acoustic material, all the more special. The album is the perfect platform for her voice.

Released back in February, "As If Nothing Ever Happened" is a worthy addition to Whang's already impressive catalog, as well as an excellent introduction for people unfamiliar with her work.

The EP opens with the beautiful "Everyday," a pleasant pop song that you can sing along to.

"Dreamer of Myths" is a darker tune, almost like "Nirvana Unplugged." When Whang's belts out her vocal lines, with all the wear and tear of life experience, you really feel it.

But the song "Ladies and Gentleman, Smile" really shows why the material on "As If Nothing Ever Happened" is so appropriate for this context. The acoustic band supports Whang's vocals, rather than drowning them out like a traditional rock arrangement might.

"Cat Song" is a perfect little ditty. Just Whang and an accompanying picked guitar, this is almost a bedtime lullaby.

"Where To Go" features an accordion. It almost sounds like a French folk song. Edith Piaf, anyone?

The title track is a heavy ballad, starting with just piano and Whang's tortured vocals. It is in the vein of a Leonard Cohen song.

A short, silly song entitled "Happy Birthday" finishes up the album, but it always sounds good when Whang sings.

Whang performed with SmackSoft at the 2014 South By South Festival in Austin, TX. back in March. In recent years, the group has been touring and releasing new music prolifically. Artists like Whang need to be supported and encouraged for putting themselves out there, for doing the work and for doing their own thing.

If Whang sings this good now, I can't wait to hear how she sounds when she's 80.

Check out the music video for "Dreamer of Myths" from the Whang Bo Ryung EP "As If Nothing Ever Happened" RIGHT HERE

Colin Langenus is a guitarist and songwriter in several groups including Colin L. Orchestra, CSC Funk Band and Usaisamonster. He also produces and engineers music at his recording studio in Brooklyn.

Tagged :  Whang Bo Ryung, As If Nothing Every Happened, Smacksoft


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