I’m fairly confident that I heard of KONTRAJELLY before this full length. Looking at their discography, the first release was back in 2015. Then there were years of silence until 2022 with a return EP, Lee Kum Kee. It’s possible I breezed by the 2015 EP and then forgot about the band until I saw Rhetoric.

kontrajelly rhetoric album cover

KONTRAJELLY is classified as indie and rock but the band calls themselves technorock. I think all three genres are accurate. KONTRAJELLY doesn’t tread inside electronic rock music and it’s more like a rock foundation that’s adding techno and electronic replacements throughout the arrangements. Electronic instrumentation takes priority like in KONTRAJELLY’s main single, “Traitor.”

So you’re getting rock music that uses electronic drums, samples, and effects. But what I think is the most interesting aspect of KONTRAJELLY’s music is that they’re crafting indie rock and rock songs while also bringing back some 80s elements into the music. It can sound aged or nostalgic, but also sounds new and fresh. I think Rhetoric can have a different impression depending on your age.

As with some electronic or techno rock, the volume and style can lean too hard into noise or aggression. KONTRAJELLY leans on the other side with highly melodic and sometimes bedroom electronic pop verses like on “Broken Penny.” If you were old enough to go to a roller skating rink, this album has a lot of songs that match that energy.

Nostalgia plays a big part in the arrangement. The positive is that KONTRAJELLY isn’t reusing tones or verses from old music, but harnessing the instruments and sounds you’d hear from older eras to make enjoyable technorock. It’s old, but in the best way possible.

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Korean Indie owner and Editor at Large. Constantly looking for new music and working on library parity on Spotify and YouTube Music.