Following her 2021 album, Adults Only, Universe Mongae returns with a new EP, RAW. But between that time, she wasn’t dormant, releasing a couple of singles and participating with Cat Psalm and UZA on MEOW! RAW feels like a casual set of songs. Adults Only was a deep full length that showcased a full spectrum of her abilities. This EP sounds like she’s continuing to build her discography.
RAW fits in her expansive set of songs (which go back to 2017) perfectly. In a way, these songs are a confirmation of her journey. Universe Mongae has a unique sound within the electronic genre and while she’s ventured and included new elements, there is a core sound that’s never left. That’s what draws you in. RAW might be a little mellow, but it still presents a lot of highlights.
“RAW” sounds like a track that you could hear in a club but without the overpowering bass line. I’m sure a DJ could increase the bass, but there’s a quiet building energy underneath it all. It’s like Universe Mongae purposely limited the song’s ability to have a huge drop and that makes it stronger.
My favorite track is “Boring Girls.” The simple arrangement and repeating verses pull you in and Universe Mongae’s vocals add to the flow across all the intertwined rhythms. “Boring Girls” shows the opposite side of electronic music. It’s not always necessary to explode with loud verses and you can enjoy a minimalist arrangement.
I don’t associate Universe Mongae with pop music specifically, but she does have some pop elements in her music. “Safety Zone” is a great electronic pop track without adopting the stereotypical electro-pop themes. RAW is subtle and low key and if you’ve listened to Adults Only before RAW, this is like the post-party wind-down experience.
I think that’s the true theme of RAW. This is the EP you listen to after you’ve been out all night. Adults Only was a soundtrack for an entire night. RAW is the cooldown after a big event.