Hyukoh has been mentioned around these parts before, and ‘22‘ is the band’s six-song EP showcasing the group’s low-key indie rock style. It has similar elements to Rock ‘N’ Roll Radio and MAAN in that all the songs are very groove focused.
The difference between those two bands and Hyukoh boils down to simplicity. There’s not a lot of intersecting rhythms, and the songs come across as somewhat simple, but Ohhyuk‘s vocals are the main feature of each song. It’s all melodic and smooth, fitting the songs perfectly. In a lot of ways, the instrumentals seem to simply support his vocals. “큰새” is a great example because the song comes with a repeating lead guitar riff, while the rest of the band play along to Ohhyuk.
That’s not to say the band doesn’t add their own flourishes to the songs. ’22’ is a unique album, and tracks like “Mer” just don’t sound like something that would be created in South Korea. The whole album has a very United States indie rock sound, and it uses some post-rock elements with a wandering verse and vocals that seem to fall in and out while still following the tempo.
Overall, Hyukoh have an album that is much more international than other artists. With some songs like “Hooka” and “Mer” in English, if you just heard the song on the radio, you wouldn’t know this is a Korean band. Hyukoh’s style and arrangements are definitely unique and help them standout in the crowd of a growing Korean indie landscape. If Hyukoh continue with this particular style, there are still a lot of directions they could go, and their growth will be interesting to follow going forward.