Those familiar with Red Velvet’s bright and bubbly K-pop confections are in for a sweet surprise on the group’s sophomore mini album. Touted as the conceptual successor of debut full-length The Red, the songs take on a mellower disposition this time around.
The artistic shift is a reflection of the five-member outfit’s dual musical concept – “red” denotes the girls’ vivid and bold streak while “velvet” portrays their chic and toned-down side.
While the new sonic treatment is not entirely unexpected, the relatively subdued template of The Velvet takes a while to get used to. After all, previous releases such as Ice Cream Cake and Dumb Dumb have adopted a fun and quirky temper.
Which is why opener and lead single One Of These Nights sounds uncomfortably uncharacteristic upon first listen. Haunting and hollow, the downtrodden ballad is a far cry from the energetic bombast that’s been so synonymous to the act.
Put away whatever preconceptions you might have about K-pop though, and the song’s – and to many extent, the album’s – languorous build-up deserves praise. In a time where most releases from the genre focus on the brash and bombastic, One Of These Nights’ indie sensibilities is an assured step in the right direction.
Elsewhere, the girls – Irene, Seulgi, Wendy, Joy and Yeri – experiment with smooth R&B and cool electronic pop. The sexy Cool Hot Sweet Love effectively showcases a more matured side by way of icy synths and spacey melodies. Light Me Out is a relatively basic R&B offering that stood out thanks to a groove-heavy chorus.
For casual listeners, The Velvet’s leisurely pace might bore. But that doesn’t take away the fact that the record adds a scintillating layer to the girl group.