onthedal delivers a perfect blend of traditional band and electronic elements in ℃ dal, all with a sound perfect for summertime. The EP as a whole is mellow and thoroughly enjoyable, offering both fast-paced and more laid-back tracks for whichever listening experience you find yourself in the mood for.
The first track, “Moondeuk,” opens with bass and an electronic beat slowly fades in as our vocalist adlibs. The song has a beat you can easily nod along to, subtly upbeat and addictive. It has a lot of bright sounds which contrast really well with the vocalist’s typically low, easygoing tone and manner. At one point the instrumentals drop out and we get a great showcase of the reverb used throughout and the depth it gives the vocals.
“Lobster” is a little more mellow than “Moondeuk,” more subdued. We still get some reverb but we also have a filter over the vocals, softening and blurring them. The singer already has a velvety voice, but this song really exemplifies it. The cymbals stay constant throughout as the primary beat, and it gives the track a bit of a jazziness. It’s a dreamy summer song, with beachy elements.
The instrumentals get a bit more complex in the third track. “Mwol 뭘” begins with ambient crowd sounds and then a reverb guitar riff followed closely by drums. It falls somewhere between “Lobster” and “Moondeuk” when it comes to how “upbeat” it is. The somewhat speedy pacing of the vocals gives it a brighter tone, and yet the repetition of the title and the steadiness of the instrumentals seems to slow it down. It’s easily one of my favorite tracks on the EP, with many distinct layers to every aspect of it and an extremely catchy chorus.
But then, “Walking on the Moon” is a tonal shift. It begins with the sound of footsteps and then what sounds like a very abrupt tambourine strike before shifting into a heavy, electronic beat which is accompanied at almost all times by a sound like crunching ice. The first lyrics we get are delivered without much embellishment,
I just wanna walk on the moon.
They’re then fragmented and repeated, and the song quickly becomes something of an R&B-inspired track. I’ve mentioned TrenChill before, and I would say this song qualifies the most for that label. As far as vocals, this track ranks high on my list – I feel like the singer is really showing off in this track, and in the best way. onthedal’s vocals has a somewhat smoky vocal texture, low but not gravelly, which I think is a bit rare in the circles I’ve come to run in. It makes for a highly enjoyable and consistently mellow, dreamy listening experience.
With “Pie,” onthedal suddenly takes an acoustic turn, not entirely but at least for the guitar it leans that way. In the background is synth that borders on vocals, but they drop out when the vocalist begins singing in earnest. The track is deceptively simple, but the reverb makes it sound much deeper and more complex. To me, this is the most relaxing track on the EP – it sounds like something that would be nice to drive into the sunset to, but maybe that’s just me. I’m a big fan of music that I can imagine myself driving along to, especially when it gives me specific vibes.
“Vinseesun” is even more minimalist than “Pie” but it retains some of the same acoustic elements, however the filtering on this one seems more intense. The vocals remind me of those in “Lobster” but the track is much slower and overall a lot more relaxing in nature. I’d say this track has the prettiest sound, and that’s part of what gives it it’s dreamy evening feeling. You can definitely sway along to it, but it might also be nice to just close your eyes and let the music take you away.
Finally, we get to “Maum 사랑하는 그대의 마음에,” which gives me nighttime vibes. The EP kind of feels like a summer day winding down, from a busy summer afternoon into a laid back night. It has some ballad qualities, but more than that it sounds like a lullaby. The minimalism of the instrumentals and the unembellished vocals with just the slightest vocal fry, all paired with reverb, and the humming which comes into play later all make the song have a soothing nature. It’s the kind of song that will send you off to sleep with a promise of sweet dreams to come.
I think if you like wave to earth, you’ll like what onthedal has to offer in this EP. Although I wouldn’t say their tracks are summer-related, they do seem to fit the season well, and so this EP came out at the perfect time. ℃ dal is an enjoyable and at times quite soothing auditory experience, and I think you’d be missing out on some real hits if you didn’t give it a listen.