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As we approach the end of another year, the final few releases flood in, with numerous artists wanting to go out with a bang, or just sit alongside Michael Buble’s Christmas album on the shelf for a little while. Artists like The 1975, Little Mix, and Clean Bandit have all found themselves marketing solid efforts in the last 30 days, but one that may go under your radar is the latest offering from Day6.
The South Korean rock band has had another successful year, completing numerous legs of their first world tour, debuting successfully in Japan, and growing in popularity in their native Korea thanks to the EP Shoot Me: Youth Part 1 and their various other promotional activities.
Part 2 of this installment, however, seems to be in a league of its own.
The album starts with "Hurt Road," a somber and mellow track that is restricted instrumentally. Instead, the warmth comes from the vocals, with the rasp of Sungjin contrasting perfectly with the divinely smooth voices of Wonpil, Jae, and Young-K. There is no needless climax, but rather a continuous mood that does not waver, and it’s a testament to how confident the band has become to put such a bold effort at the forefront of the album.
Lead track "Days Gone By" could not be more of a contrast to what came before it. Smooth and funky retro instrumentals overpower the senses in what is a feel-good track. The pacing throughout is perfect, and the vibrant, colourful hook is enough to have you addicted in no time.
Songs like "Headache" and "121U" show more of the rock influence with catchy riffs supplementing the memorable drum-fills and intoxicating vocals. They’re perfect tracks to place in the middle of the EP, bringing energy and passion to provide more colour to a solid, layered release.
You’d think it’d be hard for a band who has over 50 tracks to their name in just over three years to come up with consistently fresh, new ideas, yet Day6 finds a way to ensure that they raise their standards with every release, making B-sides sound just as slick as their singles.
"So Cool" is a personal highlight, showing vocal strength whilst showcasing some uniquely captivating instrumentals. The alarm-like sound is intriguing, and works almost too perfectly, especially with the addition of the vocals after the first chorus. It’s an uplifting track that you won’t want out of your playlists, and contains more than enough interesting elements to have you picking up on something new with every listen.
Skimming over "Marathon," a track that whilst solid is a little too all over the place for my personal taste, we finish with "Beautiful Feeling," originally released back in September as a gift to fans to celebrate their third anniversary as a band. It’s another pick-me-up song in style, but is also memorable for featuring vocals from drummer Dowoon—something that is a huge rarity. It’s a nice way to end an album that seemingly summarises the growth the band has completed over the course of the year, and it reminds fans that their work will always be for them.
In conclusion, it’s a bright, buoyant album that has consistent moments of brilliance, instrumentally, vocally, and lyrically. It shows maturity and the rapid development the band has achieved, and it is a fantastic way for the band to end an already strong year.
Accessible, smooth, and produced expertly, if there is anything you go out of your way to listen to this winter, make sure it’s this.
Album Rating - 9/10
The album is out now for download on iTunes and other streaming platforms, and I would encourage you to stream the music video on YouTube to help support the band.