As expected, ONEWE and ONEUS’s careers are closely entangled. I’m still waiting for another inter-group collaboration, but the acts often seem to release music within weeks of each other. In ONEWE’s case, Star (별) is a pre-release for upcoming projects, setting the stage for the return of their melancholic rock sound. It’s a very affecting track, but I hope the group has more daring material up their sleeve for next month.
ONEWE songs tend to leave me with the same reaction. They’re always artfully performed, but often lack melodic surprises that would really pull me in. Star has its moments (the familiar instrumental line that opens the track is gorgeous), and when it circles back to its central refrain I can see the appeal. The sweeps of strings and prominent use of keys gives a stately appeal, and I’ll always love a dramatic guitar solo. But too often, the song feels meandering rather than intentional, building toward a number of mini-peaks rather than one or two absolute knockouts. Yonghoon and Dongmyeong offer brilliant vocals – as always – but Star lacks the focus of their best material. Then again, this is a pre-release so I suppose we shouldn’t be expecting miracles.
I’m happy to see that the track is co-composed by two of the members: Yonghoon and CyA. It’s not necessary for a band to compose all their music, but it certainly adds weight to a song. While Star may not be targeted directly to my taste, I appreciate its importance to the group. In a short time, they’ve established a recognizable sound that feels more indie than idol. But, their live performances suggest a rollicking energy that I’d love to see harnessed in a comeback single.