It’s nothing short of a bold statement to refer to your album as “something wonderful”, but for Epik High, it certainly pays off. The record harks back to mixtures of experimentation found in earlier tracks such as ‘Born Hater’, but also offers something fresh and new which will impress new and old listeners alike. This is Epik High on top of their game, showcasing the high quality of their craftsmanship.
1.People Scare Me
This is an explosive introduction to the record, mixing an old-school feel track with Tablo and Mithra’s new, interchanging raps. The song really packs a punch, and the delivery is a confident one. Undoubtedly a strong start to the group’s first album in three years.
2. Love Story
The flurry of notes you hear on the piano is wild, untamed and speedy. The melody in itself offers a sense of a fast-paced love story, and Tablo’s rhythmic delivery follows along. But there’s something about IU’s voice which seems slow and leisurely. The ballad-rap hybrid isn’t a genre that has been left unexplored by popular contemporary artists, but the sense of time on this song truly brings something new to the table. Epik High successfully recreate the rush felt between two lovers in comparison to the slow passing of time in reality.
3. NO THANXXX
This song sounds like a group of friends having an absolute field day over a smooth, rhythmic, sax-fuelled beat. There’s something about it which offers comparisons to 90s jazz-rap. It feels old, but also incredibly new. This song seems to throwback to ‘Born Hater’, but the delivery and confident penmanship in cocky lyrics such as “never give a fuck about a thing” indicate a development in style. Sure, the hook isn’t as complex and referential as other lyrics by the quartet, but this sense of relaxed swagger outdoes everything they have released to date. They clearly aren’t out to compete with anyone apart from themselves.
4. Home Is Far Away
This is without a doubt my favourite song on this album. Oh Hyuk has such a smooth, intimate delivery that it undercuts any brutality from NO THANXX. But that doesn’t mean that the track is a simple ballad track-filler. No, far from it. It’s followed by the fifth track, Here Come The Regrets which features Lee Hi. Both songs demonstrate young, fresh talent. WIth Tablo having worked closely with Lee Hi throughout her career, her introduction to the Epik High realm indicates his desire to help keep the music scene going with new talent.
6.The Benefits of Heartbreak
The combination of soft rapping with a melodic piano in the background is something all too familiar to Epik High fans. With this track being one of the potential low-points for the album, they are able to recover this in the bridge through the interesting use of production. Akdong Musician’s Soohyun’s vocals are distorted and at points almost eradicated by a different sound. This song could have sounded like ‘Run’, but, yet again, Epik High are able to show how much they have developed as musicians by raising the bar on a technique they’ve been using for many years.
7. Us Against The World & 8. Bleed
Both of these tracks have a real 90s hip-hop feel to them. They really wouldn’t sound out of place with the style of music produced by some of the decade’s most memorable figures, such as NAS. The reference to Notorious B.I.G. in ‘Us Against The World’ definitely hints to this musical influence. Tablo’s fierce decision to “just bleed” in the final track packs a punch which hurts a long time after the closer has finished.
Epik High may have thought that they’ve done something wonderful with this latest offering, but in fact, the album is something so much more. It’s a legacy.