[Review] D-CRUNCH on verge of breakthrough with “Stealer”

Back in August, I praised the symphonic instrumental of D-Crunch’s debut track “Palace, but lamented the fact that the song lacked a strong chorus. Then again, a debut doesn’t often crystallize all of a group’s charms on its own. “Palace” was a teaser of sorts, and “Stealer” capitalizes on its best instincts by keeping the orchestra influence and infusing extra doses of melody.

“Stealer” feels like a sequel to Block B’s 2012 hit Nillili Mambo, which itself is still one of K-pop’s most unique idol tracks. D-Crunch borrow the same thunderous bass and ever-present strings. The song’s extended verses are still primarily rap, but the added energy of the production gives them more kick than back in August. I love the constant ornamentation that swirls around their vocals, filling potentially dead space with flourishes of orchestration. It would have been easy (and tempting, I’m sure) to substitute these moments with the tropical house synth squiggles we’ve heard so often over the past few years. It’s to the group’s credit that they opted for a more classic approach.

“Stealer”’s chorus still doesn’t reach the heights I think this group is capable of, but its simple refrain definitely gets the job done. Things become even more exciting during the bridge, which pulses with a chant-like hook and percussive sirens. So many boy groups are attempting a harder-edged, brooding style this year, but D-Crunch have given it a classic K-pop flair. We’ll see where they go from here, but for now “Stealer” is bursting with potential.

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