Red Velvet members Irene & Seulgi have broken away from the K-pop roots of the band, creating its first sub-unit and releasing their debut mini-album, Monster.
The title track kicks things off with unexpectedly feisty neo-soul piano swagger. While the verses are straight from the late, great Amy Winehouse playbook, there’s an optimistic lift in the chorus that adds colour to this soul-jazz vibe.
Feel Good is structured around simple arpeggios and an intricate bass drum pattern. The vocals feel quite rigid, but the wildly buzzing synth-bass breathes life into the track.
The girls’ voices are more melodic and free-flowing on the soul-pop Jelly. It features a tasteful trumpet solo towards the end, but overall the song lacks the rhythmic drive of Diamond, a smooth 90’s R’n’B-lounge number.
It’s the bonus track Uncover which is most impressive, though. It has an incredibly immersive atmosphere in this dreamy, electro-pop number with encouraging lyrics like “No need to hide/It’s time to uncover your mind”.
If this debut is anything to go by, Irene & Seulgi could have a monster of a career outside of Red Velvet.