It’s been a bit over a year since MAAN‘s last EP Come Around. The time between shows that the band has been quietly improving and polishing their sound into something more unique. Come Around reminded me a lot of Rock’N’Roll Radio, but on Right next door to MAAN it’s apparent that the group have found their voice. They have moved away from the dance rock into a more laid back melodic rock groove. They’re still making great music, but it’s less like a sibling.
Right next to MAAN’s introduction song “Sunset” does set the tone for the album. It’s a melodic rock EP that never feels rushed even with quick tempos. “8시” follows “Sunset” by focusing on a moving guitar melody supported by grooves from the bass and drums. “8시” feels like a song to listen to at sunset. The EP does present different themes. With the six songs, MAAN have to get a lot of feelings across.
“Under The Bridge” sounds like a continuation of “Sunset.” With the mellow vocals and focus on guitar, the song has a melancholy sound that continues through the five and a half minutes. The song is interesting because it does have a slight extended coda with the bridge to the end of the song. “Under The Bridge” doesn’t need to be a long as it is, but the repeated verse “in your eyes” does get stuck in your head. The mixing of the EP does put everything on the proper levels so each instrument is heard, though the drums do sound like they are toned down to fit. It’s not a complaint, but in a live setting the drums could drown out the rest of the band in the way they are played.
MAAN have definitely improved during the year between releases. They’ve found their own sound, become polished, and have their own perspective within Korean rock. There’s nothing to really complain about Right next door to MAAN other than wanting more music. The one main issue is that MAAN’s music isn’t available internationally so it makes it difficult to share.