It’s summer, and band Lucy is back with a complex seasonal album that awes with every ensuing track.
Having previously impressed with their sophomore album Panorama and continuing their streak of atmospheric music with songs such as “Flowering,” Lucy’s Gatcha! is an extremely cohesive album that mixes EDM with orchestral and traditional band sounds, leading to a listening experience that is perfectly suited for the summer.
The members are stamped all over the credits, with all four members taking part in the lyrics and member Sangyeop writing for all the songs. Bassist Wonsang also plays a big part, composing three out of the four songs on the single album, and drummer Gwangil composing for the last track. Finally, all the members took part in arranging the title track, “I Got U,” and Wonsang and Gwangil worked on the arranging for the other three songs.
When artists as creative and skilled as Lucy are given so much control over their musical direction, they produce gems such as this album.
Make no mistake, Gatcha! is a true summer triumph. The album title is a reference to the popular gacha games where you insert a coin and a figurine or some other prize drops out in a ball. Gacha games are beloved across the world for their unpredictability and the sense of wonder that comes with each new prize. In the same way, each track on Gatcha! delights and surprises as the listener progresses through the album.
The album title is also a pun on the exclamation, “Gotcha!” as if Lucy is teasing the listener. Just as you think that they’ve hit their peak in the album, they pull out an equally wonderful track for you to enjoy.
Gatcha! opens with the title track, “I Got U.” Accompanied by a summery music video, the band members alternate between singing in a field and a retro bowling alley. Filled with fun, saturated colors, it’s the perfect introduction to the album. While there is no visible storyline in the music video, the focus is on the atmosphere that “I Got U” and the distilled summer colors provide—an uplifting and captivating title track.
Backed by an acoustic guitar, “I Got U” begins with the echoey repeated lyrics,
I got u, let me catch you,
It doesn’t matter who goes first
I’ll find u, You’re my Diamond
However my heart leads me, like a child
I got u
Sangyeop’s delicate vocals float over trills and grace notes from Yechan’s violin while tastefully interspersed and drum hits carry the song forwards. As has become popular with bands in Korea in the past few years, all Lucy members participate as vocalists throughout their songs. In “I Got U,” it’s a treat to hear Gwangil take over the bridge with his differently textured vocals, which fully fleshes out a comfortable summer bop.
The next song, “One by One,” is a standout even against the excellence that is the rest of the album. “One by One” incorporates a more electric sound with a bit of funk, and when Lucy mixes in orchestral sounds as well, the song becomes instantly complex. The production adds effects as the song switches between vocalists, keeping the listener on the edge of their seat to hear what comes next.
If the instrumentals for each verse is a rich tapestry woven from a variety of sounds, then the minimalistic pre-chorus is the golden thread that binds it all together. When a song makes use of as many contrasting sounds as “One by One” does, it can be easy for the song to become busy. However, by making use of pauses that are devoid of instrumentals or vocals, Lucy gives the listener room to breathe before plunging straight back in.
Lucy follows up on the vibrant “One by One” with “Buddy,” a triumphant summer anthem. “Buddy” begins with plopping keyboard sounds that run over one another, reminiscent of raindrops landing on the surface of a pond during a summer drizzle. The song places more emphasis on bass and deep drum sounds, continuously building until the last chorus where Sangyeop’s soaring vocals play over the anthemic chorus.
It’s easy to envision singing along to “Buddy” during a music festival, hands waving in the air and relishing the freedom that comes with summer.
The final song on the single album is “Wonder,” a cheerful wrap up to an absolutely enjoyable journey.
In “Wonder,” Yechan’s violin takes the spotlight as it plays a lively melody line for the song’s chorus. “Wonder” lives up to its title as it brings up imagery of driving home under the orange streetlights after a summer night out with friends, simply basking in the feeling of being alive. As the final song, it’s the perfect way to end the album as “Wonder” captures a sense of peace and optimism that everything will be alright.
Gatcha! is a testament to the members’ skill and creativity as well as to the growing diversity of band music in Korea. After getting their start with Superband in 2019, Lucy has firmly solidified its place among the pantheon of active bands, each with their own musical direction and color that, when combined, creates a sweeping portrait of a deep and sonically impressive musical community.
Lucy themselves have continued to impress by continually one-upping themselves in musicality. While they were already recognized for their atmospheric sound, Gatcha! has successfully transposed that unique color onto a joyful summer album that will be on repeat for months to come.
(Images via Mystic Story, Youtube , Lyrics via Popgasa)