When I first listened to Dabda, a trio from Seoul, I was reminded of certain melodic math rock bands that I’d heard in the past. With Island of Each, Dabda have made an immediately engrossing EP with rhythmic complexity and carefully worked-in dissonance that compliments the otherwise sunny atmosphere. Elements of shoegaze are also present in Island of Each, which features the genre archetypes of noticeable guitar distortion and reverb.
“Sosori Wind,” the opener, is a taste of what is to come. We are treated to a dreamy, augmented chord-filled guitar line and samples of bird calls; immediately, a tropical beachside locale comes to mind.
“Surfer” then brings in the rhythm section, the dynamic backbone that breathes a sense of life into Dabda’s songs. The beat of “Surfer” is almost march-like, but with many rapid notes interspersed; in its latter half, the drums move away from the forefront to give room to ethereal guitars and wordless chanting.
“Youth” is playful and lively, its time signature and tempo constantly changing. Its chorus, despite all of its rhythmic intricacies, is quite danceable, and attests to Dabda’s ability to be very appealing without sacrificing compositional integrity.
“Strange” is perhaps the most dissonant song from Island of Each, beginning with thick walls of guitar. The drive of “Strange” is relentless, and there is less breathing space compared to the other tracks; in every second, “Strange” is in full motion.
“Last Month”, the closing track, combines the solemnity of “Strange” and the juxtaposition of different speeds from “Surfer”. Multiple motifs are to be found in “Last Month,” which never quite rests on a given melody or verse.
Overall, Island of Each is a very intriguing debut from a band that is sure to release more quality music in the future. I firmly believe that Dabda have the necessary uniqueness and inspiration to create a truly one-of-a-kind full-length album.