For as much Goonamguayeoridingstella perform live, it’s a shame that they’ve only been able to release three full lengths. After seeing the band live in San Francisco and seeing just how well their music can draw a crowd, it’s great to see the band finally release Sun Power. Their last album 우정모텔 was released in 2011 and while the band was previously two main members (Joh Ung and Eem Byunghak with session players, the band completed itself when session players Kim Naeon and Pak Taeshik became official members.
Previous releases were a lot more folk and experimental psychedelica with songs taking strange turns. Not to say that Goonam’s old albums are bad, in fact they’re some of the best releases around; but Sun Power is different. It sounds a lot more grand, songs like “우주로 가자” still have the unique Goonam-style, but all around it feels more focused and polished. Joh Ung’s voice still shines with every song, but the addition of Kim Naeon’s backing vocals add another melody where she accompanies. Goonam haven’t left their folk and psychedelic roots, but actually improved on them with the composition of every song on the album.
You get drawn into the music very quickly. “재미” has a slight alternative country rock sound that leads with each verse, but the song is still able to take time to explore its soundscape. If you miss songs from previous albums, “번개” is a perfect callback. The album is able to record the talent and ability of the band without any problems, but only a live show can really showcase just how much fun it is to watch the band. If Sun Power is the only way you’ll be able to experience the band, you will still have one of the best albums of the year.
Goonam have a distinct style that’s all their own. Sun Power is a great album, contrary to a lot of music that’s been released so far this year. The band is the perfect live band regardless if you understand Korean, it’s their energy that draws you in.