Review | K-pop group Enhypen’s debut album Dimension: Dilemma pushes forward their musical odyssey in eight vibrant, catchy tracks
- ‘To the unknown we run,’ Enhypen sang on their first mini-album, and they’re still running full tilt towards a bright future, to judge by their debut LP
- The seven-piece K-pop act claim an Odyssean theme for the Dimension: Dilemma album, but beyond that its eight tracks are vibrant, catchy and infectious
“Even if the world that unfolds is not what we are given/ To the unknown we run”, goes one of the lines from a song by K-pop group Enhypen from their first mini-album.
The song, Intro: Walk the Line, appeared on their EP Border: Day One, released in 2020. That was followed by the second mini-album of their first year together, and one on the same theme: Border: Carnival. Released in April 2021, it, like Day One, explored themes of growth and beginning relating to the start of the group’s career.
Now firm in their identity and music making, Enhypen ruminate some more on their journey on their third disc and first full-length LP, Dimension: Dilemma, which arrived on October 12.
Fittingly, the narrative of the album’s final track, Interlude: Question, echoes the ideas they introduced way back on that first track, as they continue to run towards the unknown. “Then I’ll arrive somewhere else, another place / But where will that be?” goes a line from the song.
Enhypen were formed as a group on a reality-TV competition show called I-Land; pronounced “island”, that may have contributed to the nautical theme of their musical journey – a theme that comes to a head on Dimension: Dilemma, which draws on ancient Greek epic The Odyssey about the travels and travails of Odysseus. This is a shift from the supernatural spookiness explored on the two Border mini-albums.
Promotional material that accompanied the album’s release speaks to the challenges Odysseus faces from sea monsters Scylla and Charybdis. The former is said to reflect “a sense of loneliness within a magnificent world” and the latter “the simple moments of happiness in everyday life” – something of a departure from the original tale.
Beyond the weighty themes, the music is vibrant and conveys the excitement of a rookie pop act racing into the unknown, one whose members exude athletic, schoolboyish charm in their music videos and performances.
This is seen most clearly on the single Tamed-Dashed, which feels as refreshing as the blue sky after a typhoon – band members deliver its lyrics and choruses with exuberance.
Tamed-Dashed is the promotional single for the LP and one of eight tracks on Dimension: Dilemma, two of which are narrative. Each of the songs presents a different side to the group, and together they show off the multifaceted flair of Enhypen as they contemplate the future. Throughout, they present an energising vibe.
Upper Side Dreamin’ introduces some funk, while Just a Little Bit is a lilting guitar ballad that emphasises sweet vocals and is a contrast to the immensely danceable house of Go Big or Go Home.
Of the remaining tracks, the gritty Blockbuster features TXT’s Yeonjun (both Enhypen and TXT are under the umbrella of Hybe Corp, the label of BTS) and the rebellious Attention, please! brings some punk rocker attitude to the mix.
It’s as if to emphasise that Enhypen are leaving their early days behind and entering the questioning teenage era of their career in which they are trying to sort out where they’re going, and what they’ll be.
Enhypen shine on this, their sophomoric debut album, their contemplative musings about growing up slickly produced and performed. And though the philosophy behind the album may be lofty, they make it immensely accessible with catchy numbers that are easy to engage with.