When I heard of Oriental Showcus, I thought they were just another indie band, but then I started listening to ‘Oriental Showcus‘ and was immediately surprised. “Be With You” is a mixture of swing and some slight jazz elements that come together into one of the best starting tracks for any album. It actually hides the brilliance of the rest of the album because it’s more laid back.
When “Swing With Me” starts, Oriental Showcus breaks a boundary. They go straight into a swing track that highlights the best of the style. In some ways, it reminds me of how The Barberettes presented their love of doo-wop music, except Oriental Showcus are showcasing their enjoyment of swing. They also don’t just stick to that one style. “Dead Air” is kind of a melodic interpretation of reggae. Kim Ja Young‘s vocals are smooth regardless of the style of the song and provides the glue between the tracks. Sambajang and Kim Ki Won, as the rhythm section, guide each song perfectly. The way they can switch styles is effortless, and Sambajang, Jo Jinsung, ULLA, and Glory do more in each song with even with smallest additions than some musicians do with an entire song.
Even through Oriental Showcus describe themselves as swing, ska, and reggae; they actually perform other styles as well. “Blind” sounds like a song you’d hear in a jazz club, and “Rosy Cheeked” does the same by mixing a reggae rhythm with an almost doo-wop vocal line. The band definitely take and mix genres at will, and produce an unique sound that you won’t hear by any other band.
I wish I had heard Oriental Showcus’ album when it came out in 2016. They released singles around the full length and a more recent EP, ‘Retro City,’ that I will have to find. Listen to Oriental Showcus if you need to hear something different, as it has a level of polish that few albums have without changing the core presentation.