After giving us the brilliant Sympathy, rocker Jung Joon Young is back with his group (formerly known as JJY Band and now called Drug Restaurant). While his solo material tends to be more ballad-focused, Joon Young really gets the chance to rock out when he’s with his band mates. Mistake ups the tempo substantially, taking cues from new wave and British alt rock.
Though Western fans will be very familiar with this sound, it’s not a genre that’s mainstream in Korea. Mistake recalls groups like the Killers or the Editors or even Joy Division. A ridiculously catchy, angular guitar riff kicks off the song’s first verse, which sees Joon Young draw us in with a restrained vocal that maximizes his deep tone. The chorus isn’t much more bombastic, but features a delicious, 80’s indie-influenced melody that packs more of a wallop than is first apparent. We also get a blisteringly awesome guitar breakdown during the middle eight, which really lets the band show off their skills. After last year’s raucously fun OMG, it’s nice to hear Drug Restaurant tackle something a bit more restrained while still maintaining their rock edge.
Mistake will undoubtedly remain an outlier in this summer’s parade of pop and dance, but I’m glad that Joon Young’s still at it. I’m not a fan of the new band name, but the music is steadily improving in quality, and that’s what’s most important. This sense of added maturity in songwriting and performance represents an evolution from their first EP and paints an exciting future for the group.