In 2016 K.A.R.D the rookie co-ed group from DSP Entertainment impressed the international community with their pre-debut, and gained a huge following through their three pre-releases and numerous gigs.
They’ve finally made their official debut with the mini-album ‘Hola Hola’ and the title track of the same name.
While the album includes the three previous releases, we also get three brand new tracks, including a cover of ZAM’s ‘I Can’t Stop’.
The entire album is heavily drenched in the current tropical house trend, and if you’re a fan of that style, then this is the album for you.
Right, down to business:
Track 1: ‘Oh Na Na’
K.A.R.D first burst onto the scene with ‘Oh Na Na’, a light-hearted, upbeat tropical house track. The song has an addictive hook paired with the tropical house beat. As I mentioned earlier, much of ‘Hola Hola’ is just that tropical house.
Track 2: ‘Don’t Recall’
‘Don’t Recall’ is a darker song than others on the album, but it is arguably also the best song on the album. One of K.A.R.D’s three pre-releases, this track meshes the beat, synths, vocals and rapping into one perfectly produced song. As such, it remains by far K.A.R.D’s strongest offering to date. They released an English version as well, but it doesn’t quite work as well as the original Korean version.
Track 3: ‘Rumor’
The last of K.A.R.D’s three pre-releases, this track was polarising for many listeners. To be harsh it revealed some gap’s in their vocal strength with the heavy use of autotuning framing the first verse. However, having J.Seph and B.M. start the track offered a different perspective from their other tracks. The dose of reggae in this track keeps the groove consistent but the track doesn’t build which potentially weakens the song. However, the track worked to cement K.A.R.D’s signature style and sound.
Track 4: ‘Hola Hola’
‘Hola Hola’ builds on K.A.R.D’s discovered formula of tropical house/edm/dance which has worked so well in previous racks. This time around, the energy is bumped up a notch, as the strong synths crash against a more persistent dance beat. The song’s verses offer a fun interplay between the guys and the girls, proving yet again why K.A.R.D is a rookie group to be watched.
The intro to ‘Hola Hola’s chorus works by stripping away the beat to focus on a gorgeous blend of vocals. But after that, the beat returns and we find a tropical instrumental taking over, packed with chirps of synth that we can’t seem to get enough of. The track works as a summertime burst of energy that maintains K.A.R.D’s trademark style without feeling completely redundant.
Track 5: ‘I Can’t Stop’ (Eng Trans.)
‘I Can’t Stop’ is a cover of a song by ZAM (a DSP Media co-ed group from the early 90’s consisting of 4 boys and 1 girl) in an obvious nod to one of their co-ed group predecessors. After hearing both versions, I like this one better. First off, it starts off a little more epic, a little slower, and they build tension effectively. Not only that but there are some crashing synth drops that really make this version work.
Track 6: ‘Living Good’
‘Living Good'(Special thanks to.) is a song for the fans. Not only that, but it’s pure hip-hop, which is something that K.A.R.D hasn’t yet tackled. And they do it really well. BM and J.seph handle their parts really well, but they’ve always done this well, their flow and timbre is always a feature of K.A.R.D.
Overall ‘Hola Hola’ the album is very listenable, there are no surprises if you’ve been following K.A.R.D since their first pre-release. The album is consistent in both flow and tempo. If you’re a fan of the tropical house/edm/dance (call it what you will) genre, then you will love this.
Personally, I like it and think K.A.R.D deserve the huge international following that they are building.
What do you think of the album? Do you agree with the review? Let us know in the comments below.
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Written and edited by Narelle