Dickpunks, probably best known as the runners-up from 2012’s Superstar K4, losing out to Roy Kim, recently released their first album since the show, Viva Primavera, with title track “Viva Youth.” The group is made up of lead vocalist Kim Tae-hyeon, keyboardist Kim Hyun-woo, bass guitarist Kim Jae-heung, and drummer Park Ga-ram. Despite the show ending in October 2012 and the group receiving offers from several companies, it wasn’t until March 2013 that Dickpunks decided to join TNC Company, a label that houses other bands like Yery Band, Peacock, and Toxic, who won KBS‘ Top Band in 2011.
The album has six tracks in total, and most of the songs cover a diverse group of sounds, really showing the variety the group can provide.
First up is “Star.” It’s a fast paced song that starts aggressively with the piano before adding any other beats. The drum beats help move the song along, accompanying the haunting melody that the vocals and piano help bring out. The pauses are used well, especially a bit less than a minute from the end to help launch into more frenzied playing that ends the song on an exceptionally exciting note.
Second is the title track, “Viva Youth.” This song is noticeably more upbeat and suiting of the popular genre. The backup vocals for the chorus add to the picturesque feeling from the song with the lazy vocalizations. The brightness of the song is a definite positive that suits the liveliness of the title of the track and the album.
“Newyorker” instantly begins with a funkier beat, the faster pace suiting the general perception of a member of the city at focus. The higher-pitched back vocals are a good contrast with the main vocals and lighten up the song. The song seems to move by quickly, in part due to the pace and also because the song itself is shorter than the others, clocking in at around two minutes and a quarter.
Next is “Astigmatism.” It’s notably slower than the first three songs, and it allows the bass guitar out a little more than the previous songs. It’s soulful and a treat to listen to with its focus on vocals. The addition of the strings helps enrich the music as well without overpowering the sound as strings are sometimes wont to do.
“Answer Me” returns to a faster pace with urgent sirens and one of the more intriguing melodies. It’s a standout on the album with its fast piano patterns and similarly fast beats in bass guitar and drums. It’s a more overt haunting than in “Star,” really putting it all out on the table with dramatics. The slowdown about two and a half minutes in cleans up the instrumental, adding some sharpness before launching once more into the frenzy. The abrupt end is expected and enjoyed.
Last on the album is “If You Go to the Pharmacy.” The song is thoughtful and brings back the strings from previous songs. It’s a good contrast to the previous track, but in comparison to the rest of the songs, it falls a little flat. It has good portions and gets better as the song progresses, but the song takes too long to get to the good parts. The strong beat doesn’t move it along and is instead plodding count throughout.
Viva Primavera is a strong album. Each track is sufficiently different from each other in style and use of the instruments that the lack of cohesion–aside from the style of the rock quartet–is not a problem. Dickpunks impressed on Superstar K4, and it seems that TNC Company is all for helping the group expand both their reach and musical abilities, both of which will hopefully be received warmly.
Overall Score: 4.5/5
What do you think, readers? After you get past the name of the group, what are your thoughts on their music?