Hyukoh
23
Highgrnd

Seoul-based indie darlings Hyukoh (who return to Hong Kong for a gig at Kitec on June 22, having played Clockenflap last year) have been a fixture in the Korean charts since their inception, three years ago, but can their debut album keep the ball rolling? Lightfooted tracks such as Tokyo Inn build on the young quartet’s upbeat 20 and 22 EPs and the smooth melodies continue with the infectious Leather Jacket, a cheeky little number through which an irresistible pop hook rips. The K-poppy Tomboyis saccharine boy-band fare, but the vibe soon switches with the album standout, Jesus Lived in a Motel Room, frontman Oh Hyuk’s haunting vocals perfectly matching the track’s deep, soulful groove. Almost as good are the sombre Reserved Seat and the cinematic Wanli, sung in Putonghua, Korean and English and built around a jangly math rock guitar melody. All in all, 23 adds up to a fine debut of surprising maturity.