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Review: Title Track Off Thornapple's 'Abnormal Climates' Encorporates Psychedelic, Folk Sounds [VIDEO]

By Rehnuma Majid | June 27, 2014 04:56 PM EDT


Thornapple, A South Korean alternative rock quartet formed in 2009 and signed to Happy Robot Records, have just released their second studio album and boy is it a gem.

The band's first album, the 2010 release "I Stammered And Forgot How To Sleep," had some commercial success, despite several members taking a break from the band in order to complete their mandatory military service.

But on the title track of their new album "Abnormal Climates," released on June 12, Thornapple unveil a new style that is both experimental and musically restrained.

For anyone listening to their music up until now, it was clear Thornapple was pushing the boundaries of their genre, but at a rate mainstream listeners could adjust to. They maintain that accessibly alternative rock vibe, while slipping in folk and psychedelic musical elements.

That might seem like a steep climb for any accomplished musician, but Yoon Sunghyun (vocals), Shim Jaehyun (bass), Hang Seungchan (guitar), and Bang Joseph (drums) are up for the challenge of combining all three musical genres.

One way Thornapple create that alternate and dreamlike reality is with hushed vocals throughout most of the title track. This sort of lulls you into the drawn out guitar focused solo which keeps you comfortable with the arrangement while slowly going into the chorus.

Shin Joong Hyun, who is often called the "Father of Korean rock", also had similar vocal style in his music dating back to the 1950s. Sunghyun appears to embody that in more ways than one. Even in his repeated changes in pitch sounds very similar to the style Shin Joong made popular as well as is used in traditional Korean folk.

The pitch doesn't careen off without control at any point, but it is tweaked just slightly. This assists in making this track, which normally would have been a catchy and typical rock song, something reminiscent of the older Korean generation.

The instruments of choice aren't unique to the Asian continent, but the way they are used is kept simple enough to elevate the traditional and earthly aspects of the song.

With images floating between trees, roses and silhouettes of the members and an unnamed woman; the band does well to stick to natural images in "Abnormal Climates." It's what makes this release stay true to folk.

Don't be afraid to hear folk paired with psychedelic rock though. This song isn't overly traditional in any sense.

It's just a really excellent fusion of what makes music from each of those categories so audibly pleasing. With a steady, upbeat guitar tempo, "Abnormal Climates" gives us a rock song the masses can get behind, with a tip of the hat to the man who helped shape Korean rock.

Check out the title track off of Thornapple's new album  "Abnormal Climates" RIGHT HERE

Rehnuma Majid is a writer, artist, radio DJ, events promoter, and avid rock climber. Culture, advocacy, and pie are her passions. 

Tagged :  Thornapple, Abnormal Climates, Happy Robot Records


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