Delispice is back with a new album after five years. I have read reviews which reveal mixed reactions. There is disappointment that the latest record doesn’t live up to Deli’s previous accomplishment and is without the charm that has made them widely popular. An increased focus on electronic and the absence of tracks that exceed the power of songs like “Chau chau” (차우차우) were noted. But given that Deli who have been there since the start of the Korean indie scene have come back with new work after a long hiatus, the overall reaction of welcome seems to prevail.

I met Delispice through “Chau chau” and “Confession” (고백) while watching Korean movies. The stories eventually faded but the melodies stuck. This must have been the case for many others. From there I went on to look for more Delispice and learned that the band had met through a Hitel community and became a band in 1995. This story is similar to how Sister’s Barbershop came to be. In the early 90s, before the web was so rampant, networks such as Hitel, Naunuri and Chollian offered virtual space where people could share interests. Mosomo is the name of the Hitel community that gave birth to several first-generation modern rock bands. Although I was still busy keeping abreast of the latest Kpop on television, to those who frequented these communities, Mosomo would mean a special place.

I haven’t listened to the entire Delispice discography and don’t know how the band have changed over the course of seven different records. Given my little understanding, what I think is just what I think. I like “Farewell to Sadness” (슬픔이여 안녕) from the current record because it reminds me of the other Delispice songs that I had enjoyed. “Time” (세월) and “There was no rainbow” (무지개는 없었다) are slower numbers with good melodies. “Star’s voice” (별의 목소리) sounds like a folk song. <Open Your Eyes> is the album opener brewing electronic sounds. <My Side> was written before the band’s very first album and was finally placed on the current album. “Rainmaker Part. 1” and “Rainmaker Part. 2” have been recommended by some reviewers.

I read the10asia interview. With the previous records, the band usually went through a much structured process. They scheduled and held meetings to talk about music, determine what to do next and such. But with this album, no meetings or discussions were coordinated. While Kim Min-kyu and Yoon Joon-ho were out camping and eating one day, they just knew that they could start on a new album. This was more spontaneous and casual than their previous decision making process. When asked about the pressure to top their past success and to demonstrate their artistic maturity, Delispice replied that rather than resting with the same style, they ventured out. The opening track “Open Your Eyes” is a message to themselves and to their fans that the band will keep on making music. The past is the past. They are going to keep on going. While much of the past’s lyrics was about expressing emotions out, they wanted to write songs that could provide a sense of comfort to listeners.

Choi Jae-hyuk, former drummer, is now with another band called Yellow Monsters. Delispice is an older band in the Kpop arena. To those who had been waiting for the Delispice of the past, the record might have come as a letdown, but to those who are willing to go along with the the band’s venture, Delispice has given a firm message.

–Writing about “Chau chau”, a Korean anthem of  the youth along with Crying Nut’s “Let’s ride a horse” (말달리자), got me thinking about this clip of Cho In-sung as a high school boy in a television drama School 3.

Unofficial translation of “Chau Chau”

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