Indie rock band The Koxx is back with their long-awaited mini-album Bon Voyage, their first work since the release of Oriental Girl back in November 2011. With a style that they define as “electronic garage rock” and influences mainly from the indie rock, post-punk and electro-rock, The Koxx has somehow managed to create a unique style.

Since their popularity exploded after the release of their full-length album one year ago, the expectations for their comeback were big. So, do they disappoint or do they live up to their expectations?

Bon Voyage opens with “Love Dance (사랑춤)”, the single track and also the song that most characteristically reflects their sound in the album. “Love Dance” follows the trail of their previous singles, especially “12:00”, but with a more melodic and restrained sound. The guitar riffs that are so typical from The Koxx are there, but unlike some of their previous songs such as “Troublemakers”, the instrumentation is not all over the place but is more minimal. They also seem to be turning towards a more electronic sound, which was there since the beginning but was always secondary as compared to the rock sounds. The structure of the song works rather well — while there’s a very simple melody repeating itself all over the song, it still manages not to sound too repetitive. The track reaches its climax around the 2:20 and then the tempo changes. The electro break may be a little bit long and the synths sound a bit too cheap for the overall sound of the song, but still work fairly well.

A special mention to the MV also, because even though the plot is utterly irrelevant, the boys, especially Hyeon-song, are hilarious there.

The second track in the album is “Take Me Far From Home”, a very britpop-ish sounding song. Although the structure and the song itself don’t add anything new, it is still probably the best song in the album together with “Love Dance”. The melody is quite pleasant and even Hyeon-song’s falsetto sounds good — actually, he sounds better here than in any other song of the album, where he tends to sing nasally.

“Hiding In The Noise” (소음 속에 사라진) feels a little reiterative in the context of the album and falls a little bit plain — the guitar solo towards the middle of the song is what works better in this song, and also the chorus girl. The final synth climax adds something interesting to the song and should have probably been added before.

“Truth Or Dare” is a more alternative rock song with some 80s synths (probably the best part of the song) but the song overall is a little bit lackluster, especially the chorus, which somehow fails to impress fully.

Bon Voyage manages to prove that The Koxx can keep their unique sound while not doing the same all over again, but at the same time I can’t help but feel a little bit disappointed with the outcome. Especially the last two songs of the album lack a little bit of punch — don’t get me wrong, I’m really liking the change in their sound towards a more electro-melodic genre, it works wonderfully on them when properly done (see “Home”, their last released song included in the SAVe tHE AiR Green Concert album).

Maybe I was hoping for a more radical change, but until then, I’ll just wait here listening to Bon Voyage in loop, and I’m giving the album a 4/5 overall rating because even if they didn’t convince with this album, I was already sold.

Which are your thoughts on this album, Seoulmates? Did you also feel a little bit disappointed, or did they live up to your expectations?

(Happy Robot Records, MK)