In “Stop Girl“, U-KISS‘s 7th mini-album, the group rewards listeners with a break from the electronic grips of “Neverland” (August 2011) and “DORADORA” (April 2012) by calling upon a fresh style and a surprising new perspective they haven’t gotten a chance to display this openly yet. It comes as a breath of fresh air and resonates as one of the group’s strongest R&B undertakings in recent memory.
Known for churning out bombastic electriconic mind-fucks in equal amounts to thumping club bangers, U-KISS’s repertoire has only truly tapped into R&B in hidden B-side tracks sprinkled over their albums. But in “Stop Girl”, the guys make a noticeable effort to drag that out into the open and make it the leading element for this mini.
“Stop Girl“, produced by their new favorite production crew, MARCAN, is the first time U-KISS tread this specific territory in a title track, and they perform exemplary. The library of light instrumentals (R&B staples) marry well with U-KISS’s delicate melodies, and it’s kicked into overdrive by rich harmonies (!) in the velvety-smooth chorus. It’s kind of brilliant work for these guys, and the fact that there’s an English version with, like, actual eloquent lyricism is a noteworthy bonus.
The only thing that mars this otherwise refreshing comeback is the lackluster B-side, which U-KISS have yet to master in their EP releases (the last time they delivered in full was on their “Neverland” album).
“Time To Go“, a swollen, self-indulgent mid-tempo, carries very little weight to it and dwells way too much in these lengthy phrases that don’t quite sit right as a part of the listening experience of this EP, whilst “Sexy Baby“, a slightly more memorable house tune, follows suit.
The only track with enough meat to suffice is “Remember“, an acoustic version of a song released under the OST for the Korean drama “Syndrome” earlier this year. It’s still unremarkable next to other better work U-KISS has delivered, but the sweet melodic tints sung by Kevin, Soohyun, and company make for an enjoyable treat within this EP.
“Stop Girl” is the clear takeaway from U-KISS’s 7th mini-album. It’s a brave and interesting style to see on these guys, and while a touch of AJ (who’s busy with his academic life at Columbia) would have probably amped up the overall experience, this single still manages to juggle all of the correct elements that U-KISS are used to working with and manages to find success in them.
All that’s really missing now is the body of a mini-album that is capable of supporting this glory.