Although some remain skeptical of their concept, tripleS have spent the past year proving their mettle with a string of impeccable releases across their sub-groups. The latest to join the fold are LOVElution, formed by members Seoyeon, Hyerin, Yubin, Kaede, Dahyun, Nien, Sohyun and Xinyu. Their mini-album ‘ↀ’ (pronounced ‘Muhan’) is a finely tuned release, overflowing with brain-scratching earworms and immaculate production quality.
Title track ‘Girls’ Capitalism’ is a fresh, playful introduction to the sub-unit as they declare themselves the key to their own hearts: “I am my own standard / Oh, I love myself / I am beautiful”. Though more simplistic than ‘Generation’ or ‘Rising’, the new song is every bit as fun, with a delicious mix of funky guitars and bouncy bass creating the perfect summer-ready banger.
Those following tripleS for some time might also have noticed that catchy sprinkles of “la-la-las” have become somewhat of a signature of sorts in their title tracks. ‘Girls’ Capitalism’ is no exception, its hook quickly burrowing its way into your subconscious. Say what you want, but why fix what isn’t broken – the rising girl group have still yet to miss.
Elsewhere on ‘ↀ’, LOVElution waste no time diving into the intricate production and vocal harmonies that make the bulk of tripleS’ discography as alluring as it is. ‘Complexity’ blends fashionable future bass with edgy, alternative R&B, while the ethereal ‘Seoul Sonyo Sound’’s choppy two-step beat emulates the heart-fluttering feeling of falling in love, both tracks offering up a wealth of satisfying sonic textures wrapped up in a hazy, dreamy atmosphere.
‘Black Soul Dress’ brings back the funk of ‘Girls’ Capitalism’ by a tenfold, though its energy is far more moody as they go “dark mode” on this nu-disco number. The song is produced by member Sohyun – also a co-producer on +(KR)sytal Eyes’ ‘Deja Vu’ – who seems to favour a specific sound that can only be described as urgently melancholic. Groovy yet subdued, ‘Black Soul Dress’ is markedly more impressive than the recent work of some far more seasoned K-pop producers, and Sohyun’s future as a producer is definitely one to watch.
Meanwhile, the uplifting ‘Cry Baby’ marks tripleS’ first foray into pop-rock. It’s a little more formulaic and predictable than most of the mini-album, though this doesn’t make the song any less enjoyable. Its air of youthful exuberance ties in nicely with the track’s feel-good lyrics (“It’s okay, even as you’re shedding tears / Tomorrow will shine / Don’t you cry”), settling comfortably as an emotional, slightly vulnerable mirror to the hair-flipping sass of ‘Girls’ Capitalism’.
The standout of the record, though, is the dizzying, enthralling ‘Speed Love’, which manages to sound like it belongs in a jazz bar and a Y2K video game at the same time. Built on a foundation of shuffling UK Garage, LOVElution make the trending genre their own with elegant twinkles of piano and curious, airy flutes. The result is a sophisticated yet unpredictable, adrenaline-inducing track that keeps you on your toes, with every second feeling like that heart-stopping moment right before a drop on a rollercoaster.
While outro tracks can sometimes feel like an afterthought, the experimental ‘Number 8’ is far from that. Delicate plucks of traditional strings – likely a traditional Korean gayageum – ripple through its chillingly empty soundscape, growing increasingly fervent, while the members’ haunting vocals appear to hint at a far darker sound for tripleS’ next release as it closes the curtains on this record.
Despite the ever-transforming kaleidoscope of sounds played with in LOVElution’s ‘ↀ’, the mini-album dances on the boundary of innovation and cohesion, once again renewing interest in the still-growing girl group. As tripleS continue to expand their universe, this record acts as an entrancing portal inviting you into their limitless future.
- Release date: August 17, 2023
- Record label: Modhaus
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