My first introduction to Kevin’s Retirement Plan was from Love X Studio‘s Instagram post. From there I bought the album on Bandcamp and STD Album has been a on/off rotation. Kevin’s Retirement Plan is explained as a “tribute” to bands like Vampire Weekend, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Cars, and Weezer and that can definitely be heard through the eight songs.
The mixture of English and Korean is natural with “Andante” and “Mellow” presenting two sides of indie rock. “Andante” as the opener is a laid-back introduction that gives a hint of what’s to come. “Mellow” is a mix of indie and alternative rock. The heavy distortion on the rhythm guitar mixed with the lead guitar and bass should have drowned out the main melody, but there’s still a calming approach to the whole arrangement.
“Computer That Flew To Heaven” is the first song with Korean vocals and highlights Kevin’s Retirement Plan’s enjoyment of melody. His vocals match the keyboards with an almost one-to-one match to the chords even when they sound slightly off. It’s a relatively straightforward song and one of the longest at over seven minutes. “Computer That Flew To Heaven” is also the track that imbibes post-rock into the latter half with an extended instrumental.
Post-punk comes into play on “Jesus Freaks (On the Myeong-dong Street).” Coming back to English, Kevin’s Retirement Plan adds distortion on the vocals combined with the effects-forward bass and guitar. The song’s volume doesn’t always match the potential aggression that the song could have, but it’s still a fun tangent overall.
STD Album doesn’t stick to a single sweeping style with “Silent Clamor” and “Jealousy” going into two similar, but different directions. It was a little strange to hear the click track used as an instrument on “Jealousy” though it somehow fits with the different clicks for notes.
Kevin’s Retirement Plan is a mix of ideas formed into good songs. It can be a little random and finding a core, cohesive vision is a little difficult, but each song has a place on the album. STD Album is definitely a result of influences while still offering a unique vision. Indie rock and alternative fans might find a lot to enjoy more than listeners looking for something that’s more post-rock or post-punk. It’s a great debut though I’m not sure where he will go from here.