After a relatively long absence from South Korea’s fast-paced music scene (half a year seems like forever in K-pop years), the boys of iKON are back on their home turf with a sophomore album.
The 12-track collection – aptly titled Return – is a homecoming of sorts for the group that has been busy promoting its music in neighbouring Japan.
Leading off with the summery Love Scenario, the record is sonically different from the get go. The loud and aggressive sound of past hits such as Dumb & Dumber and Rhythm Ta are tapered down on this offering.
What listeners get, instead, are toned down pop pieces with some hip-hop and soft rock stylings.
While the new musical direction adds another dimension to iKON’s artistry, one can’t help but long for its grittier front.
Fortunately, the group’s rappers B.I. and Bobby step up with scintillating verses on some tracks.
One And Only – the solo track from leader B.I. – is an in-your-face song that oozes much confidence.
Meanwhile, the EDM-laced Sinosijak features some brash and club-ready beats.
The boys of iKON certainly have much to catch up on after their hiatus. But as far as brazen rap verses go, the group is still one of K-pop’s best.