written by: drowningn00b
Like other actors that go down this route, Kim Ok Bin thought she had what it took to form a band and went so far as to release a debut EP, “OK PUNK!“. It’s not what you think it is, however. The sub-header to this EP, “Warning! Beware of Real Punk!” is not an indicator of what’s within. There is angst and all the requirements of a rock band, but does Kim Ok Bin have what it takes to translate her acting career into a leading lady of rock?
To garner attention and hype for their debut, Ms. Kim and company performed a cover of 2NE1’s “Ugly”. Where the 2NE1 original had a sad undertone, OK PUNK!’s rock cover conveyed hatred and envy, with the sadness coming through in the bridge. The rest of the mini works in this same vein, with solos that aren’t impressive, but made up with solid pop hooks and rough-around-the-edge vocals that convey teen angst. “I’m OK” is a prime example of this, with the hook “we are young cuz we are not afraid!”
Their lead single, “Not The End”, takes the sound from “Ugly” and increases the musicianship, but nothing to the likes of AXIZ or even Story Seller, another female-fronted rock group. As a band, OK PUNK! isn’t bad, but has ways to go to show their audience the full extent of their talent. The guitar riffs are solid, and the drums drive the beat along, but they’re missing the wow factor required in the Korean rock scene.
Vocally, Kim Ok Bin doesn’t cut it, and it’s obvious. Coming from acting, Ms. Kim isn’t an established singer, and as such lacks the confidence to lead a rock band. Acting-music crossovers are not rare, but I thought with the pedigree of artists behind the band (“Top Band” winning competitor Lee Hyun Sung of Toxic and the lead vocalist for GoGo Star, Lee Tae San), talent would infuse into Ms. Kim. My guess was obviously incorrect. For the style of rock that OK PUNK! is going for, it doesn’t take much talent-wise to get it right. All it takes is confidence and a presence to lead, and Kim Ok Bin has a long way to go to reach proper front-woman status.
“Not The End” MV
OK PUNK!’s debut mini is a solid pop-rock effort, with a talented band and the easy-going elements key to teen-angst pop. An actual punk rock sound would’ve been nicer, and the front-woman isn’t leading, but there is potential. “Not The End” and “I’m OK” are indicators of that potential, but you’ll have to wait for the next release to see if they make good on that promise.