Sun Jong Pyo is the vocalist, songwriter, and producer of the post-punk band Eloise. He has also done music directing for fashion and dance, areas that require a forte in atmosphere, which Jong Pyo certainly possesses. He recently released his first solo single album and does a good job of setting up a rich sound world in such a short amount of time.
The title track, “Lemon,” has a striking, stylish atmosphere. It sounds like something that would work well in a fashion or dance context. The melody is arguably the song’s main selling point; it’s open-ended and rarely resolves where you expect it to. I appreciate the smooth, step-wise motion and the subtle rhythmic lilt.
The harmonies are another strong point. The chord progressions are definitely not your run-of-the-mill pop chords; they’re unpredictable and swerve in directions you don’t expect. Jong Pyo also uses several non-chord pitches that incorporate dissonance. If I could change anything about the song, it would be to ramp up Jong Pyo’s voice in the mixing process or simply double his vocal line an octave lower in the accompaniment (he already has the piano doubling him, which is a good start, but even more doubling would do the trick). If the vocal line had a little bit more weight, the song would be much more powerful.
The second song, “Bondage,” strikes you right away with its extremely low, cycling bass line. The bass line is stylish and sets the stage for the entire song. It’s spiced with stuttering, static synth chords and later a compelling piano melody that is harmonically open-ended not unlike the one in “Lemon.” It has a lovely contour and resolves in unconventional places, making the key ambiguous.
Once again, I would like to hear a synth double the bass line in a different register in order to develop it, ideally half way through the song. I think this track could be almost ten minutes long instead of three (although the short length is refreshing in its own way). Jong Pyo could just keep on adding layers that develop the bass line and piano melody. The material is fantastic, I would just love to hear it fleshed out more.
Jong Pyo has very distinct musical ideas and he has a knack for creating dark, stylish atmospheres. If he continues as a solo artist, I want to see him go a little further with his ideas. His melodic lines are gorgeous, so I’d love him to soak in them and bring them out more. But for what it is, Lemon is a nice solo alum that illustrates a savory sound world in a very short amount of time.