Despite their ridiculous group name, new rookies ONF have much to live up to. They’re the newest act from WM Entertainment, home to the consistently fantastic B1A4 and burgeoning boundary-pushers Oh My Girl. The agency is known for its quirky output, raising anticipation for how ONF would sound. With debut single On/Off, the group opts for a trendier-than-expected route, but the song includes just enough unique touches to set it apart from its peers.
From On/Off‘s opening moments, the instrumental grooves with the kind of ubiquitous semi-tropical synth beat that we’ve heard all too often this year. Luckily, the verses glide over the top with an instantly ingratiating melody. There’s a wonderfully retro tone to the guys’ performance, not only in the style of arrangement but also the actual texture of their voices. In such a crowded marketplace, it’s hard for a rookie group to sound the least bit unique — especially when they’re given a track that conforms to whatever the trend of the day might be. The fact that ONF already feel like they have their own style is very impressive.
On/Off‘s chorus has a lot to do with this. Do I wish that it was little more melodically complex? For sure. But its sweeping, layered burst of pop melody hits all the right notes. Even more smartly, the choruses snowball as the song goes forward. Additional elements are brought in with each repetition, ensuring the simple instrumental hook never grows entirely stale. There’s still some room for improvement, but ONF have begun to lay the groundwork for what could very well become a high-quality discography.