Hope for Icarus‘ Distant Memories was one of the releases I picked up during one of Bandcamp’s revenue share waiving days. I was looking for more “international” Korean artists and they showed up in one of the tags. Distant Memories is a three song single and the latest release from the duo since 2014. There’s nothing hugely unique on the single, other than the fact that the pair are able to combine cello and guitar together in a great collaboration.
“The Runaway” sounds a lot like the emo-acoustic tracks from punk bands who took part in the Punk Goes Acoustic series years ago. The music also reminds me a lot of Hoobastank’s “The Reason.” I think it’s the slow tempo and how the vocals move up the scale. It’s not a 1:1 copy, but there are some definite reminders of that track. But “The Runaway” also pulls some Dashboard Confessional-esque tones as well. It’s a solid song, but not anything new if you’ve been a punk and rock fan for a while.
The second track, “One More Moment,” follows the same general song arrangement. It’s a slow intro before the first main verse adds another selection of instruments. The vocals are gentle and mellow. There’s not a wide vocal range and offers a comfortable welcoming tone. I get some “Hang You Up” by Yellowcard.
“Lily’s Song” carries a piano introduction before going back into the same vocal style and range. This is the biggest weakness for Hope for Icarus. The vocals get repetitive and it’s even noticeable within three songs. The vocal rhythm also has the same function as the other tracks. I can understand the duo’s style is more mellow ballad indie, but each track is lacking a strong audio statement. It’s very bland. The indie ballad has to have a strong high and low which is lacking here.
The songs by Hope for Icarus are well composed and arranged. The vocals match the song type and style perfectly. But even three songs turns into a repetitive experience that needs more variation than a repeat of the same verse-verse-chorus arrangement.