The story of HIGH4 is a frustrating one. Debuting in the spring of 2014 with a highly successful duet with soloist IU, the group seemed to be on the right track from the very first step. But that song ended up being more about IU than them, and was followed by a series of disparate singles that — while high in quality — failed to establish an identifiable sound for the guys. Yes, it’s good to be versatile when it comes to concepts and performance ability, but the most important task for any rookie group is establishing a unique brand for themselves. HIGH4’s poor management has made that nearly impossible for them, and that’s a real shame.
So here we have Love Line, which may or may not end up being the group’s final single. In keeping with the hodgepodge nature of their discography, the song takes another hard swerve from their past few singles. This time, the guys are given a bit more creative control, co-composing a bright, bouncy bit of midtempo r&b. Love Line feels well-suited to the summer, riding on a funky instrumental of playful keys and rhythm guitar. It’s a pleasant, head-nodding groove, but it never really goes anywhere.
The same could be said about the melody, which is incredibly amiable at the expense of any sort of deeper engagement. The chorus’s warm harmony creates a sunny, celebratory atmosphere, but doesn’t allow the guys to display anything past a generic sort of charm. They pull off the sound well, and it’s hard to fault them for wanting to release a track fueled by good vibes. But good vibes aren’t enough to resurrect a career, and HIGH4 has much more in them than this.