When DickPunks participated in SuperStar K4, they were charming and energetic. The quartet, led by Kim Hyun Woo on piano and Kim Tae Hyun on the microphone, brought piano-rock to the masses, a style not common in today’s brand of rock. They were fun, punchy and most of all, quick. Some of their better songs, like “Newyorker,” are little over two minutes long. That conciseness in production is what makes DickPunks such a joy. That begs the question, is Hello Goodbye their new EP, necessary?
In short, no. Alone, Hello Goodbye is a collection of piano ballads with little to no emotional punch. starting with “Hello Girlfriend”, a ballad that crawls to its four minute ending, some of the songs feel like a lazy attempt to get on the ballad trend.
Hyun Woo has no piano flourishes, and because of his limited range, Tae Hyun opted for no high notes, or belted notes, whatsoever. What this dynamic creates is a boring number drowning in schmaltz. The other slow song, “I Hope So,” continues this travesty, in which the addition of strings cannot save this sinking mess. Check out Jaurim’s “Twenty-five, Twenty-one” for a lesson in dynamic rock balladry.
This is not to say DickPunks cannot create a decent ballad. In context, “Hello Goodbye” is the ballad companion to “Viva Primavera.” The tracks “The One” and “Spoiled” are extensions of the ballads on that previous mini-album, with a more rounded sound coming from the band. But it’s not till the end of “Hello Goodbye” that you get anything of worth.
DickPunks close the EP with the unique track “Grey,” with its pulsing bass drum and piano-organ dynamic. Style-wise, it’s the furthest away from their trademark sound the band has ever strayed. The ballad has a folk-esque sound and Tae Hyun does a better job in delivering a nuanced performance than on the rest of the EP. It’s an experiment that worked, but a shame it was tacked on at the end.
As much as I like DickPunks, “Hello Goodbye” was a miss. Some of the tracks try too hard, aim too far out of their talents to make any meaningful impact. The lead single, “Hello Girlfriend”, is a snooze-fest, and while better in production, “The One” and “Spoiled” rehash past efforts. They achieve a hidden gem in “Grey,” one not to be missed. I hope DickPunks’ next release has more of their live charm that “Hello Goodbye” covers up.