Go back to Seoul Magic Club‘s Hope and you hear a mix of indie rock, dream pop, and synth pop. But listen to Bless and you experience something that dives deeper into post rock and shoegaze territory. Even the band’s other companion EP, Peace, has more in line with Hope. It’s like Peace is a transition from their longstanding style into this new world. Bless is an intense and heavy audio experience. Four songs and over 40 minutes of music.
I’m not sure what inspired this change, but Shin Soo Hwan sent an email about the new album so I had to take a listen. Post rock and shoegaze in South Korea is a very special thing. There were more bands around 2015 who drove this genre, but it’s become harder to find bands. Seoul Magic Club take over successfully.
“Entry Level Museum” is an opera that crushes. The instrumentals move deliberately with rhythms and attacks changing constantly. The addition of the spacial vocals adds a gothic tone too.
Seoul Magic Club offers a transition between old and new on “The Last Day of Venus.” It is a mixture of their synth and dream pop origins and slowly adds the post rock elements while subtracting some of the more airy melodies. It’s not a full aggressive attack, but a midpoint that showcases the expanded number of musicians.
The core of Seoul Magic Club is synth (SiAn), bass, (Soo Hwan), and drums (Nabi), but Bless adds two guitarists 최동현 and 김강산. The guitar is foundational in post rock and the two guitarists help drive each song.
I like “Blue Cat Milk” the best on Bless. It is like a primer and introduction to post rock and this track has everything. The slow introduction builds to a full mid-song drum attack with other instruments filling out every open space. It’s perfection. “Gush” pulls from “Entry Level Museum” but also adds a finality to the album. I’m not sure if Seoul Magic Club is going to live inside this genre now though I feel like they have all the talent and elements needed to create their own audio universe if they choose.
Seoul Magic Club’s transition from Hope and the various singles to what Bless offers is interesting. They are definitely excellent shoegaze and post rock band and I think they could adopt either genre successfully. Personally, since I think these genres need more bands, I’d prefer if they live in the world they’ve created on Bless.