Indie Focus: Veteran musicians join to form H A Lot and provide a stellar self-titled debut

If H A Lot is a band you’ve never heard of, then you might miss the pedigree that makes up the band. Gyuhyun, vocal and guitarist, comes from bands like Nevada 51 and ReflexJunghun, guitarist, is from CoreMagaZinEJinyoung, bassist, is formerly of Yellow Monsters and My Aunt MaryJaehyuk, drummer, is currently a session player for Jambinai, with Yellow Monsters and Omega 3 being his past bands. This combination of experience and talent seemed to guaranteed that the first album of H A Lot would be great. And it doesn’t disappoint.

Essentially, their self-titled album does well to incorporate the talent of every member. Junghun was always an impressive guitarist, with Jinyoung being of my favorite bass players, and they play off each other perfectly. Jaehyuk’s drumming has always fit the rock genre perfectly, and his time in Jambinai has only increased his skills. The only outlier was Gyuhyun, who was in bands but never really expanded beyond a first release. What this effort does best is present a melodic rock album that’s kind of been missing from the Korean music scene. It’s very polished, likely because of the experience of the members and their various recording experience. This makes ‘H A Lot‘ sound a little commercial, but the variety of the ten songs shows that that band isn’t going for a single, repeat song structure.

The single, “If You Ask Me,” actually hides the band’s stronger songs. “If You Ask Me” is a bit of a ballad rock track, which is sure to attract the ears of a lot of people, but “Never Ever” blows that song out of the water. From the lead and rhythm guitars leading the melody, and the bass adding so much to the low end, the song might have been the better lead single. The drumming is perfect for the song and the vocals add a lightness to the overall rock sound. I do wish the songs weren’t so clean in the mastering because it hides a bit of the grittiness that will be heard live.

711” is another track that really pushes the album. The band are able to effectively highlight every instrument, and good bass presentation leads on the verses. The rhythms in “711” also don’t simply follow the time signature, but rather they bounce around. I also think the chorus is one of the best on the album.

You also get to hear Jinyoung’s ability on bass in “Frank”, where he gets a bigger presence overall. What I like best about H A Lot is that there are bits and pieces of their previous bands that make small appearance, but overall H A Lot have an unique and recognizable sound that will attract a wide audience.

I had been wondering what the members of H A Lot were doing with their respective music careers, as they were a little quiet. But hearing the four come together to create this album, it’s clear that they haven’t lost any of their talent and ability. In some ways, they have created a super group that could make any type of music they wanted. H A Lot might just be the first test to see what would work and what wouldn’t, so I wouldn’t rule anything out at this point. I’m not sure how much priority H A Lot will be for the members, but hopefully they continue to make new music and inspire new musicians in the scene.

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