Musically, boy group Spectrum had a pretty solid 2018. Their sound borrowed heavily from current trends, but by sticking with production team Code 9, their burgeoning discography felt cohesive. It’s a shame, then, that they’re still largely unknown by K-pop fans. Such is the struggle for rookie groups from small agencies. Without the benefit of luck and good timing, their promotional periods tend to feel like running on a hamster wheel, unable to make the kind of strides they’re no doubt hoping for.
New single After Party changes up the group’s sound and concept, though I doubt it’ll stand out much within the industry. The song is no less trendy than their previous work, borrowing heavily from both tropical and Latin styles. But, it does suit the upcoming summer season. The dramatic electronics of last year’s What Do I Do are replaced by bright splashes of synth and percolating, island-ready beats. As the title suggests, the entire track has a celebratory — almost carnival — vibe.
After Party opens with its catchiest hook, an anthemic flourish of melody that instantly makes the song’s intentions clear. From here on, things are less memorable. Sing-song verses and blasts of hip-hop are introduced to little effect. Most of Party feels like it’s killing time before the next chorus, though I’m happy that it never resorts to a purely instrumental drop. Instead, we get a wordless, post-chorus refrain that works as a momentary climax. If we’d never heard this style of song before, I’m sure that After Party would feel more impressive. It’s polished and well-constructed, but brings nothing new to the table. As 2019’s trends begin to change, that sense of stagnancy could be a problem.