“Things what may happen on your planet” is the first full-length offering from enigmatic Seoul trio Guten Birds and is sure to delight new and old fans alike. Each track on the record is tight with driving rhythms, complex layers of guitars, and just the right blend of Mohho’s hauntingly moving vocals. Seo Hyeon drives the bass lines as Mui, one of my top five drummers on the planet, merges a kit into the music like no other. Guten Birds are often described as melodic grunge, and as a child of the grunge era, I can certainly understand the reference. However, with this record, Guten Birds have defined their unique sound on an entirely new level.
The building instrumentals in opener “어디선가 어딘가에서” seduce your ears while simultaneously creating a drive that follows in many ways throughout the album. The vocals come home in the next song, “가나다 별곡,” as the pace quickens. This track, along with “밤신호,” seem to show a new direction for the band, and it is done so well that it is hard to believe this is actually their first full release. Having only had the album for about a week, my Korean isn’t strong enough to truly understand everything on these cuts, but Mohho’s voice still carries that power and urgency I’m so familiar with and both tracks inspire me as a painting I don’t need to understand does.
The first half of the album contains three instrumental songs, while the second half begins with an eight-and-a-half minute English track which may remind listeners of things we’ve left behind, for better or worse. The music on this song, “Sailing Out,” approaches the psychadelic, though to me, it’s without a specific genre as it builds from a soft haunting din into an aggressive yet rhythmic rock offering. The vocals continue to play a major role throughout the album’s back half, most notably on “킬빌 혹은 우울한 달,” a darker song featuring little more than light guitars and melancholy voicing. I’m hard pressed to choose a favorite amongst the 10 gems presented, but this track along with “Rolling in the Air” will certainly forever remain on my short list. But all 10 are perfect. Trust me.
The recording was done at Tomato Studio and they have done some amazing work on this album as every aspect of each song comes shining through in impeccable sound. Find a good seat, some great headphones and immerse yourself in “Things what may happen on your planet” as you would in a gallery or poetry reading while the songs carry you on a journey of happiness, sadness, love, loss, emptiness and more.
Pick up your copy of one of the best records of the year at the special release showcase Friday October 14th at Works Hall in Hongdae. A must-have album and a must-see show. Friday’s release gig starts at 8 pm and tickets are 25,000 won at the door. For more information, check out the Facebook event page here.