Last time we heard from KNK, their music video had been scrapped, forcing them to make a comeback without that vital piece of promotion. Given this, I’m actually surprised that it took them half a year to make a return. They are a group on the rise, seeking to establish a loyal fan base and break into the K-pop mainstream. With “Sun, Moon, Star“, they continue to work with composer Kim Tae Joo (of Beast/Highlight fame), but take the tempo and mood down a few notches.
“Sun, Moon, Star” seems to be modeled after Beast’s mid-tempos like “12:30“ and (especially) “Ribbon“. The song even has a subdued violin refrain at its center. KNK carries this sound well, but the actually melody leaves something to be desired. Songs like this skirt a fine line between atmospheric and dull, dependent on how well the performers’ emotion is channeled into a compelling hook. There’s no doubt that KNK are pushing everything they have into this track, but the melody itself feels a bit too muddled. It lacks contrast, coming across as more of a straight line than a dynamic collage of tones and influences.
Further listens do bring out more of the song’s charms — particularly the gorgeous falsetto in the pre-chorus and the impassioned vocal delivery that drives most of the track. But by adhering so strictly to a template mastered by Beast, “Sun, Moon, Star” is bound to suffer in comparison. “Back Again“ proved that the guys could take this familiar sound and make it feel new and needed. I’m still waiting for a follow-up that matches that level of potency.