In the everchanging Wave, memories and emotions come to the surface only to disappear again, just like waves in the ocean. However, the album is far from apathetic. The waves of each song are robust and bring forward a range of emotions and melodies.
Yang Chang Keun’s experience in the Hongdae’s club scene shines through the songs in the best way possible, allowing him to indulge the listeners in deliciously groovy, fabulously attractive songs. This second album comes a long time after the artist’s debut album Old Hearted, which was released in 2014. The deliberate decision to take it slow paid off in the form of eight remarkable tracks, which come together to create an engaging and gratifying album.
From start to finish, the production quality is close to perfect. Covering a range of sounds, from indie rock, through soft pop to R&Bi, it is a genuinely enjoyable album, which simply never gets boring. Wave is a true polished gem, waiting to be discovered.
Yang Chang Keun foreshadows this masterpiece with a monumental intro to the album. “Big Wave” greets the listeners with the sounds of the ocean. Using uplifting, ethereal strings and enticing instrumentals, it seems to be encouraging the listener to dive deeper into the artist’s world. Slowly increasing the insensitivity of the drums and vocals, Yang Chang Keun builds promising suspense, a pledge the rest of the album delivers on.
“Nightwalk” is for sure a standout of the album, with impeccable rhythms and groovy feeling. The album is a mix of R&B tracks and classic indie rock, with some interesting pop additions like the joyful “Fanfare.” He moves through the album decidedly, with conviction. Knowing where he wants to go with every song, the artist doesn’t hesitate to change the tempo with each track.
The short, instrumental interlude “Cinema,” marks the moment in which the album starts to wind down, leaning into sexy R&B and seductive lo-fi. The last track, “Sea’,’ slows down so much that it seems the singer is on the verge of falling into a deep slumber. The album ends with rich, thrilling drums, only to switch to heartrending strings for the last few seconds. In the end, Yang Chang Keun sends the listener off into the world of their own thoughts and emotions, after faithfully presenting all of his.
With Wave, Yang Chang Keun embodies the best possible qualities of an indie artist. His personal connection to the music is easily noticeable in each song but does not override the listener’s enjoyment. Skillfully sharing his world with us, he offers an amazing listening experience at the same time.