written by: TESTAMENTVM
For a group brimming with such talent, 3rd Line Butterfly is surprisingly reclusive. Their last EP, “Nine Days or a Million“, was released in 2009, and since then they’ve been virtually mum on new material, resurfacing only this year to make an appearance at SXSW with fellow K-indie rockers like Galaxy Express and Crying Nut. But despite their dearth of material, 3rd Line Butterfly, named after the happy coincidence that all the members live on the 3rd subway line of the Seoul metro, has built up a cult following with their performances on the Hongdae night circuit; a cursory youtube search will reveal that this group has more live performance videos than recorded music (studio) clips – a rarity for any group. Despite early commercial success after scoring the OST for the award-winning “Ruler of Your Own World” (2002), 3rd Line Butterfly has generally steered clear of commercial music and instead stuck, for the most part, to the indie hotbed that is the Hongdae scene.
“Nine Days” is an English-language track off “Nine Days or a Million”, and it encapsulates everything unique and refreshing about this K-indie group. The vocals of lead singer Nam Sang-ah are airy yet substantive, mixed and EQ’ed thickly but in keeping with the ambient, meditative feel of the song. Moreover, despite singing in English, her pronunciation is surprisingly on-point, and the reverb only helps to mask any flaws with her enunciation. But it’s not just the vocals that have been reverbed, but most of the other instruments (including the drums), which serves to paste the various sounds together in a primordial soup of warm feelings and half-thoughts and distance. The gauze-y wash of the reverb, with its shick-sheen surface and cool glow, and distant, washed out drums and long tailed bass notes all create an inexplicable feel of quiet longing that the current crop of overproduced kpop offerings can only dream to replicate. Try listening to this at the end of a long, hot, summer day.