It was hardly to be doubted, that several vessels reported to have encountered, at such or such a time, or on such or such a meridian, a Sperm Whale of uncommon magnitude and malignity, which whale, after doing great mischief to his assailants, has completely escaped them; to some minds it was not an unfair presumption, I say, that the whale in question must have been no other than Moby Dick.

Following the footsteps of successful Superband alumni Lucy and Hoppipolla (just to name a few), Superband 2 runner-up Cnema officially debuts with “Mobydick”. The band consisting of drummer Kim Seul-ong, bassist Byun Jeong-ho, trumpeter and vocalist Im Yoon-seong, and frontman KiTak came together during the third round in the show and since then established a clear musical direction. With “Mobydick”, Cnema makes a splash with their cinematic rock alternative sound, marking the beginning of an exciting musical journey.

“We hope that every time you watch us perform, you’ll feel as if you’re watching a movie,” says KiTak in one of the interviews during the finale. To create their signature cinematic sound, the band makes heavy use of a synthesizer, which creates a resonating and atmospheric backdrop to each of the members’ strengths. Throughout “Mobydick”, the use of the synth is lighter, bringing into the surface the beauty of Yoon-seong’s rough vocals and KiTak’s clear voice. The result is refreshing and uplifting, much like when a cool wave hits you in the middle of a hot summer.

Speaking of wave, the band mentions that the song is a continuation of their original composition in the Superband 2 finals, “Far Away”. The song’s title in Hangul literally translates to “wave” and tells of the members’ determination to navigate through turbulent seas and high waves. “Mobydick” continues that narrative but this time from the perspective of the famous white whale.

Depending on the reader and the characters in the novel, Moby Dick symbolizes many things. For Cnema, they are the great white whale. As Yoon-seong sings the first verse, we see the members clothed in dark clothing. In the second half of the song, however, we see the members dressed in white. While there are still glimpses of the members dressed in black from the second verse to the pre-chorus, most of their shots already have them in white.

It’s blooming white

Gazing over the horizon

Above the sky I could touch

I walked along the road of light

World is like a big wave

Rushing in even with small wind

In that unstable storm

I’m sinking more and more

The cinematography also plays a part in telling the members’ individual stories. Interestingly, the music video uses a CinemaScope aspect ratio of 2.55:1 that was commonly used during the 1950s. While the novel was published back in 1851, the first film adaptation premiered in 1956. 

KiTak sits alone with light peeking through the curtains of an empty room. He lets go of black dice, which later we see with the numbers “39897”. We see him next on the seashore, seemingly lost in the vastness of the sea. Yoon-seong sings alone on the shore. Jeong-ho looks at the sun setting through a vintage camera atop a building. Seul-ong, with probably the most symbolic set, is in the middle of the forest and chases after the light. (The only downside of the video is that there was never a shot where the members were playing their instruments!) 

In Superband 2, the members started as individual musicians. Each had their own ambition—some even their second chance. Eventually, the members found each other. Fans initially guessed that “39897” pertains to the meaningful dates when added all together, but KiTak later revealed in a guesting that the number means the band scored 98 and 97 points during the third round of performances in Superband 2. “Mobydick” shows Cnema’s desire to succeed and encourages listeners to rise up and move forward together.

“Get Out”, the second song from their single album, on the other hand, tells from the perspective of a whale hunter. This time, the members regard themselves as Captain Ahab, who vows to catch Moby Dick after losing his leg in a previous voyage. While Captain Ahab’s behavior is regarded as monomaniacal, Cnema spins this as their determination to chase after dreams as embodied in “Mobydick”.

How many nights the night that threw me outside the world

The days I looked for you in dark

I’m fallin in fallin in until I can get out

How many days inner side trapped in freedom

Midnight hidden behind the sun

I’m fallin in fallin in until I can get out

Compared to “Mobydick”, “Get Out” is more dramatic and intense sound-wise. The song leans heavily on the heavy metal and screamo genres with Yoon-seong belting powerfully in the chorus. (It is unknown if “Get Out” will also have a music video considering it’s also a title track and the last scene in the “Mobydick” music video.)

With polar opposite tracks for a debut, Cnema rides on the wave of nostalgia with an early 2000 sound. The ocean is vast, so is their potential. We don’t know where the band’s music will take listeners next. All we can be sure is aboard the ship called Cnema, we are about to set sail.

(YouTube. Moby Dick by Herman Melville (1851). Lyrics via Genius. Images via Moss Music.)