Every time I think of Bandage, I’m always awed by the fact that there is a 12 year age gap between the eldest and youngest members, because their music never feels like there’s a clash of ideas. Even in the performance aspect, all the members feel so mature and professional that it’s hard to believe that everyone is technically at different points in their lives.

Their latest release, “Coloring The Life” showcases the group’s maturity, with the track and MV feeling very reminiscent of a coming-of-age film. The MV opens with Chansol walking through a path in the forest with his guitar, while the rest of the members are in a house writing music, sharing ideas, and taking care of the dozens of plants in the household. The MV is soft, idyllic, and filled with lush greenery, enabling the listener to feel relaxed and calm. There are no twists or crazy story plots, but rather just four guys hanging out, and making music together.

Some of the elements that enable the MV to resemble a classic film include the use of newtro furniture (essentially retro items that have been polished to look more contemporary), as well as the use of slow pans and zoom ins on certain items, such as the compass Chansol uses to find his way to the house. The utilization of newtro furniture and clutter objects creates a cozy atmosphere in the space, allowing the space to seem as if it has been used and occupied for a long time, emphasizing the idea that the members are close enough to be brothers — a trope that is commonly found in most coming-of-age films.

Subtle camerawork is employed, and is most noticeable during the scenes where the members are passing around a music score. We first see the score when Hyeongbin is sitting at the piano, where the camera moves with his hand going towards the score. We see it again when Hyeongbin interacts with Kyoungyoon, with the camera following the score being passed from one to the other. After that, the camera focuses on Hyunbin before panning slightly to the left to show that he is talking to Kyoungyoon, and lastly pans down and brings our focus to the music score that is in Hyunbin’s hands.

The last exchange is seen between Hyunbin and Chansol, where we follow the score as it is being passed to Chansol, and once Chansol receives it, the camera pans out to reveal all the band members in the same space together, almost as if to say that they are ready to perform. The shot after that immediately shows the band performing together, and with this narrative, viewers are given the impression that this is a band that communicates and shares their ideas with each other, hence dispelling any thoughts of the members being distant with each other.

The combination of such aesthetics and camerawork with the song makes viewers feel a lot closer to the band, especially since we are going through a journey with the members. Whether it’s watching the leader find his way to the house through the forest, or the members collaborating to write a new song, we are experiencing these moments with them. The song also becomes part of the narrative with the way it is timed according to the visuals. The band performs the chorus after Chansol receives the score, therefore the viewers feel a sense of achievement because the song is the end product of the journey.

This reminds me of the film Sing Street, which is a coming-of-age film where a boy creates a band to impress this girl he just met. What seemed like a quirky and weird combination of friends quickly turned into a cohesive and supportive group that worked together build their discography as a band. The happiness I felt then, when the group finally finished their first song, “The Riddle of the Model“, is the same as when I watch the members of Bandage come together.

Narrative aside, the use of wide shots of the band and close ups of each individual member playing their instruments showcases the performative aspect the band, allowing viewers to pay more attention to the sound of the instruments when they come together. The close up shots draw the viewers’ attention to the instrument that is being shown, allowing us to listen out for the sound of that particular instrument during that moment.

One of the details that stands out in the MV is how the visuals turn into a painting the moment you hear the line “coloring the life”– that aesthetic further emphasizes the peaceful atmosphere with its soft colors. The MV is vibrant and hopeful like its lyrics, but it’s not in-your-face with its message and sound. 

Coloring the life
Let’s draw out
Let’s color the stars in the black sky
With bright smiles and endless light

In their debut track, “Invisibles”, listeners got to appreciate Chansol’s baritone and gritty vocals, while “Coloring The Life” showcases a higher tone, with Chansol mainly using his head voice throughout the song. We have yet to actually hear the other members sing, aside from the pleasant harmonies in the chorus, but I hope that their bassist Hyeongbin will get a few lines in the future, for he proved to have a lovely vocal during his appearance on Superband.

In my previous review, I expressed concern and excitement towards the band’s cohesiveness, for the members are of different ages, with a 12-year age gap between the eldest and youngest members. “Coloring The Life” proves me wrong once again, for its overall aesthetic and message can be applied to all ages.

It sets a hopeful tone for the youth, encouraging them to paint the world with different colors. At the same time, I can totally see myself still listening to this at the age of 60, sitting in my rocking chair with a puppy in my lap, reminiscing about my past and looking fondly at the new youths, appreciating how beautiful our world is — provided that the world hasn’t burnt down by then. 

Sitting side by side
When I close my eyes
Old memories appear
In green fields, in green leaves
You came to me

Usually, bands have something that they’re known for — for example, Day6‘s music is very story-based, N.Flying has a fun and carefree sound, and Onewe is experimental. Bandage is a band that focuses on the emotional state of mind, with each song crafted to suit a particular mood or emotion. They’ve shown us that no matter where we are in our lives, we can be connected through music and its emotions. Their first album, 432, further showcases their versatility, and it makes for a great listen.

Now, if you don’t mind, I’ll be listening to “Coloring The Life” as I sit at my balcony, sipping a nice cup of tea while watching the clouds pass by.

(YouTube [1] [2] [3], Korea JoongAng Daily. Images and Lyrics via Play M Entertainment)