The long-awaited debut of RBW Boys has finally arrived. Under the name Oneus, they plan to show the “us” that becomes “one” when the members individual strengths are united, according to a source from the company. It’s worth to note that Oneus is also the brother group of Onewe—an idol band formerly known as MAS who will have their re-debut soon. Both have released the single “Last Song” in September as closure for their trainee period.

For those of us who watched Produce 101 and MIXNINE, this debut feels relieving. Members Hwanwoong, Keonhee and Seoho (formerly known as Lee Gunmin) tried their chances in Mnet’s survival show, while Seoho and Ravn (Kim Youngjo) ranked 17th and 27th respectively in YG’s controversial show. After almost two years in total, it’s satisfying to see them under a well-deserved spotlight.

With a flourished guitar riff that echoes their sister group Mamamoo’s “Egotistic”, “Valkyrie” starts off captivating. First welcoming the listener with Leedo’s velvety vocals, the build up is exciting, exploring each member’s distinguishable tone and exploding with a percussion line that strengthens Ravn’s verses and entices with what’s to come.

However, the pre-chorus slows down the momentum and lets the guitar riff shine once more, giving the song some breathing space before its ultimate highlight. What makes “Valkyrie” really stand out is the electrifying chorus, reminiscent of the best K-pop works from the beginning of the decade. Booming synths, catchy hooks and just enough repetitions of the song title make for the perfect earworm, and remind us how powerful a well-produced pop track can be.

Unfortunately, the trap section that soon follows presents an unnecessary, outdated choice. Its jarringness damages the laboured construction of the song, but nothing that a few listens can’t subdue. Overall, “Valkyrie” is an incredibly strong release, reviving sounds that would fit right in Shinee’s or VIXX’s discographies, and that’s as high as a compliment any rookie group can wish for.

Speaking of which, VIXX’s moody, dark concepts seem to have been an inspiration as well. Valkyries are female figures of the Norse mythology mostly known for deciding who lives and who dies in battles, usually accompanied by animals such as the raven. While the MV doesn’t dive deep into the mythology, it’s still a fitting nod, since Oneus have their own Ravn—accordingly dressed in black feathers.

Rather, both the MV and the lyrics focus more on the wordplay in “Valkyrie”. In Korean, the word sounds similar to 밝히리 (to light up), and on that perspective the lyrics take shape, alluding to a person who is their light. These statements are translated throughout the MV with the help of impressive light/dark play, shiny artifacts, flashing beams and special effects, ensuing a classic “box” MV—but with charm of its own. The choreography is yet another strong point, incorporating the ignition portrayed in the lyrics, interesting footwork, and even a The Matrix inspired slow-motion sequence.

Classics are classics for a reason, and “Valkyrie” smartly taps from the best. While arguably not a groundbreaking release, it revives a much-appreciated style, and does so with uniqueness and flair. Hopefully, future releases will better showcase the group’s own color, but one thing is certain: Oneus have set the bar high for the debuts of 2019.

(Naver [1], [2], Youtube. Images via RBW)