If you ever deep-dived into Korean music in the 2000s, you would have heard of My Aunt Mary. From 1999 to 2008, the band was on the front of melodic rock in the independent scene. And like a lot of bands at the time, My Aunt Mary went dormant and members went on to other projects.
If you asked artists and bands who make music now, My Aunt Mary was an influential band of the time. In the last year, I saw the band return with live performances and now the trio has a new EP, 15 years after their last album. Right NOW is both nostalgic and a slight update to the band. The band’s general sound remains consistent but you can tell that time and experience have polished their skills to a point.
“Run” is a simple and slightly sparse song with a strong indie rock arrangement played through folk and acoustic angle. It’s the starter for the EP and according to the liner notes, the first song that My Aunt Mary started working on. “Run” is exploring the band’s sound again and sounds like everyone is getting comfortable.
Han Jinyoung has been in a lot of bands since My Aunt Mary went dormant. Bands like Yellow Monsters, H a Lot, and TAE:A focused on louder rock and punk influences. But when it came to his songs, they were always slower and more melodic, and “Into the world” sounds like he’s where he belongs. Jung Soonyong is the main vocalist and also performs as Thomas Cook, but there’s a different tone with Han Jinyoung.
Of the four songs on Right NOW, “Summer night” sounds the most dated. It really feels like a track you’d have heard in the mid-2000s. It’s really like hearing a song from an old My Aunt Mary album. Definitely not a bad song, but I kind of want to hear more of the future of My Aunt Mary instead of going backward.
And as always, there’s a slower melodic rock and ballad mixed song. “Be here again” is composed in a very familiar style if you listened to 2000s rock bands. It’s a multi-layered track that’s led by the vocals with a lot happening in the instrumentals. This is the song that drummer Park Jeongjoon is really able to show his skills because he’s doing more than just keeping time, but adding a bigger dimension to the track overall.
My Aunt Mary was hugely influential during their active times. With the time between releases, members have explored their own things, and coming back with this EP proves none of them lost any skills. While their sound may be dated for current audiences, people should definitely listen to them and understand how much Korean independent music has changed before and after easy internet access influenced the music.