I never wrote about ICHILLIN’s debut, which arrived just as the new school year was starting. To be honest, a look back at that song didn’t inspire much of a reaction. But, we all know first comebacks are equally as important as debuts, so it’s time to give follow-up single Fresh a chance. With any luck, it will live up to its title and offer something new and different. That’s not too much to ask, right?
As verse one opens, my ears perk up. The funky bass and fitful percussion certainly aren’t new, but they seem to deliver a more nuanced playground than most girl group tracks this year. However, it’s not long before a noisy pre-chorus rears its head and we’re pulled into chanty sing-talk nonsense. Fresh’s bright chorus doesn’t do much to right the ship, though I’ll give the group bonus points for their energy.
Then, verse two pulls me in again. The instrumental is crazy here, composed of choppy synths (or are those filtered vocal riffs?) that spiral downward as if yanking us into some psychedelic hellscape. Believe it or not, that’s a compliment! I wish the entire track felt this daring and unexpected. Unfortunately, Fresh throws a lazy vocal melody on top, sacrificing much of the production’s experimental bent. In this way, the song is a conveyor belt of missed potential. It’s a fantastically offbeat instrumental propping up a forgettable song. I guess it’s better to excel in one area, and if ICHILLIN can find a stronger balance going forward, they may surprise us.