With (G)I-DLE riding high on the charts, Cube Entertainment has devoted much of their attention to them. But, the agency has another group waiting in the wings. LIGHTSUM debuted last year with the fun Vanilla before shifting toward slightly more generic sounds with follow-up Vivace last October. Since then, we haven’t heard much from the girls. New single Alive arrives just as they should be zeroing in on their own sound.
Alive follows a proven girl group formula: big percussion and even bigger, brasher vocals. In general, this style isn’t for me. But, Alive delivers the template pretty well. LIGHTSUM make a charming conduit for the song’s bright energy. They belt out each note, making sure their performance is front and center even as the busy production pinballs here and there. From its singalong chorus to the more beat-driven asides, the girls keep things moving.
Alive’s instrumental is largely cut-and-paste from other tracks, but I like the brisk percussion during the verses. Had this element been spotlighted more fully, we could have a great groove on our hands. Unfortunately, the track is more concerned with noisy synths and thundering changes in the arrangement. The pre-chorus is far too cloying for me, though it builds nicely into the song’s effusive hook. More worryingly, we’re three songs into LIGHTSUM’s career and I’m still not sure what makes sets them apart from any other recently-debuted act. I’d love to see Cube connect them with a dedicated producer who could bring out their own musical color.