Rookie group UNVS had a promising debut this past February. But if I’m being honest, I haven’t returned to it since. Such is the challenge with new acts. There are already so many K-pop groups to follow, and unless a rookie promotes often and releases undeniably ear-catching material, they’re likely to fall by the wayside. However, one thing I appreciated about debut track Timeless was its melodic focus and sense of musical continuity. That approach carries through to new single Give You Up, though to a lesser extent.
Give You Up takes awhile to reach a place that truly impresses. Its opening verse is the kind of navel-gazing mood bait that characterizes every 2020 boy group track, made tolerable by a nice shift in tempo as the segment unveils. The chorus opts for Seventeen-esque grandeur, à la Don’t Wanna Cry. I appreciate the attempt, but the hook here is only solid – not transcendent. It would help if the vocals didn’t sound so buried within the production.
The song continues this way for some time, briefly clawing out of its angsty murk with moments of promise. It’s not until the bridge that Give You Up really starts to build. The instrumental takes on added weight as the percussion picks up and the vocals begin to soar. From two-thirds through, the track becomes what it should have been the entire time. It’s too little, too late to make a significant difference, but it gives me hope that UNVS haven’t abandoned the strengths that made me notice them in the first place.
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