All we were hoping is that they would give us an Automatic…and they did!
When they dropped Red Summer, we noted that we got a hint of the Red Velvet that we loved best (the Be Natural/Ice Cream Cake aspect of the group). It appears we were right because the ladies have returned to form and to snatch everybody bald.
First off, the production on this set is exactly what we have been wanting for them for a while. There is nothing that overwhelms the vocals, but there is nothing that sounds generic and makes you tune out. Every track sounds like its own entity, but there are underlying elements in the instrumentation that joint the tracks so that you don’t feel like your brain is doing backflips from the whiplash. We detect the pen and production prowess of Charli Taft (who did write Peek-A-Boo for them) on several of the tracks as she has a knack for the throwback jam. The songs have an homage feel without sounding dated in the least and are very distinct from the cutesy pigeonhole that a lot of female groups find themselves in.
As for the vocals, we really weren’t expecting the complexity we got in terms of the layering and the implementation. There are moments when they go simplistic with things and all the members sing the same notes in unison only for them to fan out at the last second and add a beautiful flourish to the end of a line. The solos are strong and your can really get a feel for their individualism now with each member having that little bit of something that sounds different despite the fact that they all have rather full voices. We get a cute delivery, a sensuous tone, a soulful adlib, a poppy flourish, and a rapper working together to makes some amazing music. Each plays their part well and knows how to adjust for the theme of each track and give you some good emotional resonance while their at it.
The lyrics (through our limited understanding) seem to stand up and hang together well. There are few metaphors that we didn’t get but seem to be rooted in a Korean perspective, so we had no problems with them. We want a full translation of Perfect 10 though, because we are getting some interesting signals about the nature of that track.
We have been waiting on this album since Russian Roulette; something that allows them to set themselves apart from the other girl groups out there and really claim their crowns. We can’t get enough and are eagerly awaiting the live stages.
It was really hard to pick but our favorite tracks are Look, Perfect 10, and Kingdom Come. The most skippable track is Attaboy just because, despite some solid moments in the bridges, the choruses meandered.