In my review of GFriend’s Crossroads, I mentioned my love for the holy trinity of WJSN, Oh My Girl and Gfriend. Though they still remain unbeatable, if there is one group that’s on the edge of breaking into that elite club, it’s undoubtedly Dreamcatcher. Their hard rock infused sound is completely unique in the K-pop landscape, and provides a breath of fresh air in a girl group realm that’s oversaturated with standard girl crush or cute tropes. Though I’ve enjoyed almost everything they’ve released, I always found myself drifting towards the tracks that incorporated some electronic elements, such as Sleep-walking or the phenomenal Silent Night, which was my favourite album track of 2019. To my absolute delight, this electronic influence was finally incorporated into title track Scream and it doesn’t disappoint.
Composed by the always fantastic Ollounder and LEEZ duo responsible for most of the groups older work as well as ATEEZ’s entire discography, Scream wastes no time getting right to the point. Opening with a bombastic guitar riff that fades in and out, JiU and Yoohyeon’s opening verse is a masterclass in building tension. The instrumental then quickly transforms into a stomping beat that underlies most of the following verses. I can’t stress how much I love this. It gives the strong a full sense of momentum, powering forward with necessary intent and vigour. Like most of the groups work, the verses are phenomenal. Not a second is wasted for some unnecessary momentum killing breakdown, and the girls vocals are arranged magnificently. The production (unsurprisingly) strongly recalls everything that made ATEEZ’s Answer from earlier in the year such a treat.
In fact, if I were to relate it to any of Dreamcatchers own songs, it would be last years dynamic Diamond. Scream plays out almost exactly like it, but pulls off the sound much more convincingly than Diamond ever did. Scream‘s chorus has got to be one of the most chill inducing moments in Dreamcatcher’s entire discography. It incorporates the aforementioned electronic influences, but it still feels uniquely Dreamcatcher. The drop actually sounds more like a shredding guitar solo, than a generic cut and paste EDM sample. This is the benefit of sticking with a certain group of producers for a long period of time. The power to develop a signature, but develop it enough over time to make it feel fresh. And though I prefer a fully developed melody than an instrumental hook, there is no denying the strength of this centrepiece.
The operatic chanting vocals combined with the satanic phrasing of “devil, eyes, come” nail the atmosphere the track is aiming for. It’s also one of those drops that actually feels climactic, bursting with character as well as mainstream appeal. Not unlike those in Stray Kids’s Miroh or Side Effects actually. In fact, the entire song plays out like a more rock infused version of Side Effects. And that aggressive, ambitious bombast is never a bad thing.
Also, I love the album too so expect a review for that soon!
And shoutout to Dami who gives arguably the best and most dynamic performance of her career.
Final Rating: 9.25 / 10