Probably the one of the biggest surprises of 2016 (in terms of sub-units) was EXO-CBX. Their Hey Mama! EP was something that turned out to be a lot better than we expected and we found ourselves going back to it again and again. Now, with the release of their new EP, we can affirmatively state that our XO-CBX playlist is about to double in length.
The thing that this group seems to do well is meshing their modern sound with a bit of a throwback production to make something that sticks with you and stands out from the crowd.
The vocals are going to be a problem…in the best way. We got hints of what they were capable of before as a trio, but this time around they have really amped everything up to ten in terms of performance. The leading vocals are distinct and each member has a personality all their own that makes them easy to tell apart. The harmonies seem a little richer this time around, even if there is a distinct amount of unison notes in the more forward set of vocals. The background adlibs are a joy to hear and, every time someone hits a high note, you know that they are feeling it as much as you are.
The production is probably the thing that changed the most this time around. Before, the music was full of dancing energy and excitement. This time around, things are taken a lot slower and there are no real “bops” in the traditional sense on this EP. What you get now is more a smoldering sexiness that just takes you away. You are forced to really listen to the vocals in a way that you might not have before and the solid, rocking rhythm is the kind that makes you want to grab the nearest warm body and slow dance.
When we found out this was coming, one of the things that we were personally hoping for was another Rhythm After Summer. That track from their first project has long been one of our favorites and we really didn’t know if anything they could do would match it in terms of how well executed it is. In terms of vibe and energy, there is nothing in this set that can really compare; but, in terms of execution, Lazy comes really close. The slower tempo of this track means that you won’t be bopping around to it as much as RAS, but the vibe it sets with the rich vocal layering and the eighties-style production makes it just as addictive as the disco-styled romp we fell in love with before.
Our favorite tracks are Blooming Day, Lazy, and Sweet Dreams!. The most skippable track is Playdate as the cutesy nature of it separates it just slightly from everything else in the set.
Check out the times below the player for the individual track starts.
00:00 Monday Blues
03:21 Blooming Day
06:41 Sweet Dreams!
12:53 Vroom Vroom