Last time we heard from rookie girl group April, they were dancing around with an egg (seriously…) and singing about fairies. It feels like these things can only happen in k-pop. Since then, the group has lost a member and gained two more. They really have seemed to be in flux since their debut in 2015. Here’s hoping that this new line-up sticks.
To compliment their revised roster, April has also switched up their sound with the symphonic pop of April Story (봄의 나라 이야기). It’s a much more mature style for them, though that’s not completely apparent until the chorus hits. After a dramatic opening flourish, the song quickly retreats to a more classic girl-group verse. The instrumental calms for a moment before rhythm guitar joins the mix for a pleasant midtempo bounce. It’s all very expected, and not particularly gripping. Luckily, once the song segues into the chorus, we’ve entered much more interesting territory.
Layering the girls’ voices right from the start, the melody takes a lush turn as strings are brought back in for a sweeping sound that recalls musical theater just as strongly as modern k-pop. The dense blend of instrumentation borrows more than a bit from GFriend’s Rough, though April Story isn’t quite as upbeat in its approach. I love the touches of electric guitar and filtered background vocals, as well as the added ornamentation during the final, climactic chorus. The song’s melody is much more wistful than it is punchy, which makes April Story a track more suited towards specific moods. It may lack the universality of a pop anthem like Rough, but this is clearly a huge leap forward for April as a group.