With only one single under their belt, co-ed group K.A.R.D have already amassed an impressive fan base. It just goes to show that k-pop is always looking for new ideas, even if the genre may sometimes seem stagnant. And although the group’s tropical house-infused music isn’t particularly unusual (especially for western listeners), the group wraps it together in an exciting package. December’s Oh NaNa only became more addictive the longer you heard it. The same will probably be said about Don’t Recall, though it lacks a bit of the punch and in-your-face catchiness of its predecessor.
If Oh NaNa was the group’s party starter, Don’t Recall is the dimly lit back room — atmospheric and tinged with a hint of uncertain danger. Its slow-burn verses percolate with a subdued blend of vocals and hip-hop. They’re the song’s weakest moments, feeling overlong and somewhat throwaway, even if they do give all four members a chance to shine individually. Luckily, the song takes off once the chorus hits. The central melody isn’t too dissimilar from their last one, driven almost solely by Somin and Jiwoo (the group’s female vocalists). Their tones have a gorgeous, mature blend that really sets them apart from anything else in k-pop at the moment.
As much I complain about how tired I am of the tropical house trend, it’s Don’t Recall‘s sticky instrumental hook that really ups the ante. Yes, we’ve heard this sound a million times before, and it can still annoying when tacked on to less impressive tracks, but the chirpy synth refrain here is just too catchy to ignore. The last few moments of the track are especially effective, as this repeated instrumental riff starts to splinter and spike in unexpected directions. It’s a suitably layered climax for a song that thrives on crafting an addictively cool ambiance.