Hyukoh had been mentioned before through Xtian’s and SJP’s reviews of Mayson the Soul and Primary. 22 is the band’s six song EP showcasing the band’s low-key indie rock style. It’s has similar elements to Rock’N’Roll Radio and MAAN in that all the songs are very groove focused.
The difference is that Hyukoh keeps things simple. There’s not a lot of intersecting rhythms and the songs come across as somewhat simple, but Hyukk Oh‘s vocals are the main feature of each song. It’s melodic and smooth, fitting the songs perfectly. In a lot of ways, the instrumentals seem to simply support his vocals. “큰새” is a great example because the song comes with a repeating lead guitar riff while the rest of the band play along to Hyukk Oh.
That’s not to say the band doesn’t add their own flourishes to the songs. Regardless of some songs being in Korean, 22 is a summer album. I didn’t know Hyukoh had a previous EP from 2014 and as the first introduction, 22 is an unique album. “Mer” doesn’t sound like something that would be created in South Korea. It has a very United States indie rock sound. It uses some post-rock elements with a wandering verse and vocals that seem to fall in and out while still following the tempo.
Overall, Hyukoh have an album that is much more international than other artists. With some songs like “Hooka” and “Mer” in English, if you just heard the song on the radio, you wouldn’t know this is a Korean band. Hyukoh’s style and arrangements are definitely unique and help them standout. If they continue with this particular style, there are still a lot of directions they could go and that will be interesting to hear.