Along with many other male groups of their era, FTIsland is approaching that dreaded military enlistment time, where each member will have to momentarily leave the entertainment industry for their mandatory service. This portion of an idol’s career tends to bring with it an added sense of sentimentality, as artists bid a temporary goodbye to their dedicated fans. And as a group that has enjoyed massive success in both Korea and Japan, FTIsland has a lot of fans to console.
Hold The Moon is taken from the band’s upcoming 8th Japanese album, which will presumably be their last before enlistment. But rather than offer a maudlin tear-jerker, the song is one of the most ebullient pieces of music they’ve released in some time. Its instrumental mixes a generous amount of electronics into their rock base, but in a way that feels more alternative than trendy. It’s a song that I could easily imagine Infinite’s Sungkyu recording as part of a solo album, and makes just as strong a match for FTIsland.
There’s something utterly transporting about this sound, as the synths provide a dreamlike atmosphere that bolsters what is ultimately a pretty simple pop song. It’s nice to hear frontman Hongki modulate his performance, moving from hushed verses to a more powerful chorus that incorporates gorgeous touches of falsetto. Moon may not be the kind of song that shamelessly draws attention to itself, but its robust blend of influences has a way of drawing you in. It all climaxes in a galvanizing final chorus, which pulses with an anthemic energy that feels thrillingly optimistic.