Despite being a couple of weeks late to join in on the summer fun, Cravity are back as bright and energetic as ever with their latest EP. As the title suggests, New Wave marks the beginning of a new era for the group as the first album to not be part of a series. While their Hideout trilogy was tense and lacked clear direction, “Adrenaline” felt like a step forward to finding their own unique color as the number’s youthful energy matched well with the members. The tracks on New Wave build on this cheery ambience, following the path that “Adrenaline” laid down. And though this lighter sound is not something we haven’t heard from the band before with tunes such as “Cloud 9” and “Ohh Ahh” coming to mind, the album definitely feels the most natural for the boys which, considering the members have more credits on the songs than any of their previous records, isn’t too surprising.

At the forefront of the EP is lead single “Party Rock.” This bubbly pop rock piece captures Cravity’s high spirits with a feel-good melody on top of a funky beat.

The enthusiasm never really drops and stays electrifying from start to end, having the audience partying all the way through. Lyrically, the song is all about letting loose and enjoying the exhilarating mood:

Wе don’t stop, we don’t stop

We don’t stop ’til the party’s over

Just turn it up, hey, go dizzy, do it again

Party rock, party rock, party rock

Everyone, gather up

Just turn it up, hey, make it hotter

We go rollin’ (Party rockin’)

With catchy hooks and infectious cheerfulness, the tune delivers wave after wave of positive energy that’s quite difficult to resist. While their earlier releases like “My Turn” and “Gas Pedal” had them chasing trends and emulating other boy groups, the members feel completely at home in “Party Rock.” As far as title tracks are concerned, this will hopefully be the beginning of more lighthearted concepts to come.

Moving into the B-sides, the group takes a fresher spin on EDM starting with “New Addiction.” In this piece, the brisk vocal melody and pure harmonies work impeccably with the mixture of pulsing synths to create a posh, futuristic atmosphere. The record maintains a consistent verve with a fast-paced rhythm for the most part, but the dramatic electric guitar solo and powerful drums during the bridge raises the energy even higher before the climactic ending with a striking high note alongside the final chorus. Its title is a spot-on descriptor as the tune is incredibly addictive and feels new and distinct compared to their other EDM-inspired numbers that were more forceful and hard-hitting.

In similar fashion, “Colorful” is another EDM standout among the group’s records, incorporating varied moombahton elements with a vibrant dance-pop sound. The song is colored with several shades and moods from the bouncy, animated instrumental to the strong vocals tinged with bits of wistfulness. With the lyrics, the boys describe a dull, monotonous world that ultimately becomes vivid and full of life after meeting that special someone:

It’s so bright

That I can’t open my eyes

So that everything in front of the road is bright

Colorful forever

I can go anywhere if I have you

Go step out anywhere, all day, yeah

Their singing here is especially remarkable with the tune bringing out the best in the group like Jungmo’s light tone and Seongmin’s sweet timbre during the verses along with Woobin’s rich tone in the chorus. It is an impressive vocal showcase that highlights all of the members and is a great fit for the album’s sunny concept.

Meanwhile, “Automatic” and “Knock Knock” opt for a more alluring approach while still being upbeat. With “Automatic,” the edgy verses are reminiscent of Cravity’s motor vehicle-filled days as Serim’s and Allen’s falsetto snippets sounding similar to the unforgettable “Vroom, vroom, vroom, skrrt” lines from “My Turn.” But while the stunt felt jarring there, it’s done so with more refinement in “Automatic.” This combined with the intense synths and smooth vocal arrangement makes for another dynamic, captivating number. In “Knock Knock,” the boys take on the house genre, integrating a lively melody with a vigorous rhythm complete with a cool anti-drop for the chorus. Its carefree mood is perfect to close out a long, summer day as well as this bright and refreshing mini album.

All of the songs on New Wave are exploding with breezy, exciting fun and is probably Cravity’s most consistent and impressive release yet. If anything, the EP’s opening track “Boogie Woogie” suffers the most with its repetitiveness and toned-down production evident in other K-pop English singles. It’s not an unpleasant listen by any means, but when placed next to five title track-sounding numbers, it feels flat and lifeless in comparison. But looking optimistically, this is a fair indicator that the boys have really set a high bar this time around.

Cravity’s past releases have typically been enjoyable enough but often lacked personality or anything that set the band apart from dozens of other K-pop acts. With New Wave, it seems like they have finally found a sound and concept that makes them shine. If they continue in this direction, forging a path for their own place in the industry with their unique charms, then the group’s next move will be much anticipated.

(YouTube. Lyrics via Genius. Images via Starship Entertainment.)