It was 4 years ago since they released their last album “YOUTH”, and Glen Check is back with a new mini EP showcasing a new and shocking band, “The Glen Check Experience”.
The KHOP Loyalist has a thing for music and different genres so before we explain why we’re loving the #GCX, here’s why Glen Check is worth your time and listen.
The year 2015 was a year of enlightenment for The KHOP Loyalist. Despite having already listened to various Korean indie artists since 2010, it was only in 2015 when we decided to also show our support to the scene. That was the same year we discovered Glen Check.
Although I did not favor the British rock, disco sounds initially, I appreciated it still after living in my childhood with 80’s born adults and with parents that spent their free time tuning in to the radio. After liking the KOXX, who had some British rock sounding songs, I’ve welcomed other bands into my ears with the same music. During one concert in 2015 where the KOXX was with the Solutions and Glen Check, the latter band performed their song “60’s Cardin” as the encore song and the other bands’ members danced along. I actually danced, too. It intrigued me that I actually liked the song so I decided to learn more about Glen Check. And eventually, yes, they became a favorite.
Glen Check debuted with two members, Kim Juneone (vocals, guitar) and Kang Hyukjun (keyboard, synths, bass) and re-introduced disco/dance music to the audience while performing live with their instruments. They are also commended for using Englsh in all of their lyrics, hence also catching international attention.
The duo debuted in 2011 with their mini album “Disco Elevator”. Just like what the name suggests, the album contained disco sounds, with two tracks in its acoustic version. The two were accepted greatly by listeners and they followed up with their first album “Haute Couture” in 2012, also reinventing their band to add a drummer, Ryu Junyeol, and joining Soundholic Entertainment, the same label that houses Jaurim and 후후 (WHOwho). The album gained them more attention and even got nominations (and a win!) in that year’s Korean Music Awards. They followed with a mini-album “Cliché” which contained 5 tracks, gaining inspiration from synth pop, disco music and funk.
In 2013, the two released their second album “YOUTH!”. They greatly experimented on this album and found inspiration from their vacation in Spain. They created two sets of songs, one produced by using instrument produced sounds and the other incorporating electronic sounds. The album was released during the prime of their youth, their music and lyrics talked about their life as a youth and exceeded expectations, later on winning them another award from the KMA’s. This was followed numerous shows and festivals. Even a tour in France and appearances in SXSW. They later released numerous remix albums, showing that they have been gaining ground in the electronic music scene as well.
It was in 2015 this time that we got into them and listened to every song and appreciated their musicality and talent. Their music was definitely different from your glitzy KPOP songs but that doesn’t mean you can’t dance along to it. My mom personally loves “60’s Cardin” (because according to her, it makes her enjoy zumba more. lol) while my brothers have shown great interest in “Pacific” and “Metro”. I’ll say that my favorite songs from Glen Check are “Dressing Room”, “60’s Cardin”, “Paint It Gold” and “Addicted”. My favorite album is definitely Haute Couture.
In this year too, Juneone joined the Korean DJ collective Alter Ego with other members Apachi, Graye (aka Moon Yirang), Xin Seha, Klasse and Nineist. Hyukjun (aka Hyuky) also became a DJ and started a different collective, MOSAIK, made up of other new breed DJs, himself, Nov, Sojeso and Mignon. And since I was so into the country’s DJ scene, it kept me on my toes and waited for any updates about the band.
On the hopes of new material in 2016, the world was shocked when the band joined ESENS’ label, Beasts and Natives Alike (BANA), which also houses XXX, DJ/producer 250 and more. We weren’t shocked in a negative way but rather happy, believing that BANA will be able to nurture their music, and that their style greatly compliments its other artists.
And we weren’t really wrong about that.
Glen Check members have ventured into creating their own sounds and it has recently geared towards the likes of trap, techno, bass, soul, future/neo soul, even avant garde. And you know us, we love that kind of music. This manifested in Juneone’s single with f(Krystal) in early 2017, “I Dont Wanna Love You”. Despite it being a new flavor for an SM artist, it wasn’t something surprising from Juneone who produced it.
In March, Glen Check also released a rearranged version of their 2011 song “Au Revior” for the NIKE Air Max project, that also geared towards the avant garde style. And personally, we’re loving the 2017 version more than the original!
Looking at how the band has gone so far and pursuing their own music has tugged my heart in numerous ways. Their talent is evident and yet they are being slept on. I understand they’re not hiphop but they have put themselves in the scene, mingling with numerous KHH names, even being in the same label as Esens. And I guess that’s how the change in sounds came to be.
“The Glen Check Experience” is a work debuting after a four-year hiatus, also a time where both members are at the brink of being a full-grown adult. Surely at the age of 27/28, the two have gone through a lot. And we couldn’t wait to hear it manifest in their music.
The album was released digitally on August 12th while the physical album will be available by August 17th. It is made up of 5 tracks.
1. Dreaming Kills
2. Follow The White Rabbit
3. Long Strange Days Pt. 1
5. Rude & Confused
The disco sounds are definitely gone in this new album and we find it refreshing. Not because we don’t like it, but because it’s something new from a band we’ve missed so much. They did stick with incorporating electronic sounds, and at an era where EDM is already a trend, this definitely puts Glen Check at a spot where people would stop and listen.
What we did not expect from them is how dark the album actually is.
Yes, that bass, synths, and avant garde vibes, all of it are lovely, starting with “Dreaming Kills”. We’re giving it two thumbs up. One for setting the album’s mood and vibe. A side clap for maintaining the drums in this song though, like a transition between the old Glen Check to the new one. Another thumbs up for the message, telling us all that Glen Check has definitely changed, telling us to not be surprised of what we’re going to hear off of the album, or maybe even from all of their future songs. This is a different Glen Check and they want us to listen and accept. Like one line in the song “I’m gone at the end of this song”.
And when “Follow The White Rabbit” entered, the change has become evident, as though the band has just zipped down a jacket and they stepped out of it. We commend them using a voice transformer for this song, something not a lot of artists would use, not even during a live performance. But Glen Check did so.
“Long Strange Days Pt. 1” takes it a bit slower and…well… Let’s just say that we can’t listen to this when we’re alone… in our room… thinking about random things with our partner… Okay. I think we already gave that away. Haha! I love the music to this, the transition from slow, to fast and deep, then back to slow as though we’ve already waken up from our high, waking up from the truth that this… This is Glen Check.
Our personal favorite song from the album is definitely “Mayhem”. See how we like everything that gives the catastrophic vibes? Haha! But if Long Strange Days Pt. 1 is a slow-paced intro to a hot night, “Mayhem” is its opposite with some crazy events happening, giving that much needed climax in the album.
Glen Check decides to end it all off with “Rude & Confused”. It’s lyrics contains repititive “Feeling you with hate, no I ain’t your bait, this ain’t your lake, I ain’t no saint”. People might have already honed them into an image they like, but they want to reiterate that this is them chasing their dreams. They’re not going to change into something people might “like”. They will continue doing their thing and we just have to wait for more.
Funny how I made this reaction. Because I had to listen to the songs for more 10 times, at each chance thinking and concentrating deeply. When I listened for the first 2 chances, I had a very hard time understanding what the lyrics all meant. Maybe because I was just too excited to listen to them. There’s no concrete sentence or idea in each verse (something that Glen Check has always done). Although I did have an idea by the fourth time I repeated, the message only got clearer as I was writing this through the sixth time.
The Glen Check Experience is now, an overview of what they’ve gone through the four years, reinventing themselves and delivering something new, an image we weren’t ready for, but would gladly embrace. And they wanted us to experience it as well, hoping we would stay with them afterwards. What is sure is that this aren’t the last songs we’ll hear from Glen Check this year in this concept, this image.
We’re not complaining.
We love it.
What about you?