Thus far, the most notable thing about Great Guys has been their horrifically bad name. K-pop is littered with oddball group names, but few are as awkwardly straightforward as this. The (great) guys have released two singles over the past year. 2017’s funk-laced Last Men showed potential but was held back by some intrusive instrumental breakdowns, while this spring’s Ganda was your typical tropical bop without much of a hook to back it up.
With Illusion (일루션), the group has dipped their toes into VIXX territory, bringing a theatrical edge to the song’s dark pop core. Right from the start, we’re hit with an industrial distortion of synth that segues into an ominous chug of rock guitar. The tension is palpable, as the instrumental builds to the track’s centerpiece. Its chorus resounds with thick electronic bass, bringing a whole new dimension to Illusion’s malevolent appeal. I’m not as sold on the high-pitched synth in the background, but I guess it’s impossible to fully escape from K-pop’s modern trends.
Illusion’s standout production sets the stage for a stellar comeback, and the song’s melody almost measures up. The chorus is a bit more hesitant than I’d like, with the titular refrain repeated often before we move onto more bombastic hooks. It’s not quite the cathartic release that the verses seem to promise, but it’s a whole lot stronger than some weightless instrumental drop. Most importantly, Illusion puts Great Guys on the map. I hope they can build on this sound for future comebacks.