Rocket Punch debuted last with the enjoyable, but rather generic Bim Bam Bum and its accompanying album, Pink Punch. Though I did enjoy a few tracks off the record, most notably Love Is Over, the entire project felt too beholden to current girl group trends. Considering they hail from the same company as the legendary Infinite, the always consistent Lovelyz and one of k-pop’s most promising boy groups, Golden Child; this rather basic approach came as quite a shock to me. However, the girls have flipped expectations and returned with a disjointed blast of buoyant pop in the form of BOUNCY. I wrote in detail about my enjoyment of experimental tracks in my review of f(x)’s masterwork Red Light, and BOUNCY further re affirms my points.
Almost a year on from ITZY’s groundbreaking debut, we’ve been seeing an increasing influx of songs that take clear inspiration from their musical template. Last week LOONA’s So What presented a grittier interpretation of their debut Dalla Dalla, and now BOUNCY revels in the bright template set by sophomore effort ICY. The first time I heard the teaser for bouncy, I winced. The heavily slurred post chorus hook immediately grated, and I watched on in terror thinking that it would anchor most of the song. Thankfully, BOUNCY does have a stronger refrain at its core. This effectively propels the track forward, providing a multitude of addictive hooks in the process. The track is at its strongest during its bridge and climactic refrain, where an anthemic burst of melody segues it into the powerful militaristic chant that opened the track. Here the melody rises to the point of breaking till the track completely explodes into the climactic refrain. It’s all exhilarating stuff and provides a very enjoyable listening experience.
BOUNCY isn’t a song without its issues though. The aforementioned post chorus hook isn’t as grating is I expected it to be, but still does come across as abit cloying. This combined with another momentum killing trap break down after the first chorus, heavily limits my enjoyment of the songs first quarter. The girls vocals are also pitched unbearably high at some points. Not only does this sound quite unpleasant, but also makes me worry about how strained the girls voices are. The similarity to ICY is also something that I cant ignore, as it strips much of the songs originality. It even features the obligatory minimalist dance break that ICY pulled off so well and an almost equally intoxicating baseline. But then again, I’d rather have a bunch of ITZY clones than a pile of shrill aegyo tracks or loud ‘girl crush’ retreads. And that is where BOUNCY really succeeds, and although I would prefer the group to pursue a sound of their own (much like their seniors), this is a very promising follow up.
Final Rating: 8.5 / 10