written by: McRoth
It’s been over a year since we last heard anything official from boy band Dalmatian. Last February, they dropped their debut mini-album, and since then the group has seen a little bit of a change.
Member Day Day has bid farewell to idoldom (for personal reasons, they say), and in his place has entered new hunk, Simon. In addition to the swap, member and rapper Dari has enlisted into the military, leaving Dalmatian at a current five member line-up. That’s a lot of change even for a boy band in K-pop, but Dalmatian has pulled through and put together their comeback mini-album, “State Of Emergency,” released earlier this week.
Dalmatian’s first mini established a lot of things about them, or at least that was the case for me. One was that their production team knew how to find the balance between sugary boy band cuteness and clean, crisp sounds. “The Man Opposed” was the perfect example of this balance between style and quality, and lucky for them, the same could be said about the entirety of Dalmatian’s first mini-album. But above all else, what I found to be the clear takeaway was the group’s overwhelming vocal skill set. Not only did they prove that they could be your proper K-pop boy band (charming appeal and all), but your K-pop boy band with the raw talent to back it up. It worked really well last year, and I became a true fan of Dalmatian’s playful demeanor during their first mini-album promotions in the process.
This year, they’ve decided to harness their talent and approach their music from a very different angle. As some of you will remember, Dalmatian’s 2011 concept was something like a geode, in that they were very rough and sexed up on the outside, while completely glimmering with fun and pretty details on the inside. For “State Of Emergency”, they’ve decided to allow more continuity between image and content. The whole package is a dark and incredibly emotional deviation that isn’t particularly new for the group, but certainly not reminiscent of the happy-go-lucky Dalmatian that I remember.
Like most idols this year, the trend that is being passed around like a secret memo is to sound less gimmicky (2010, 2011) and way more serious, mature, and polished. It’s a musical transformation that can easily be documented by listening to the discography of some of the bigger boy bands, such as BEAST, and just like them, you hear all three aspects of today’s new standards throughout “State Of Emergency”.
There is no glaring auto-tune and there aren’t any cheesy styles, both things that were very present in Dalmatian’s 2011 mini-album. Everything is serious and moody now. But could stripping themselves (no pun intended) of that extra dose of carefree playfulness have possibly altered the Dalmatian magic that glowed as bright as their smiles did last year?
My answer: yes and no…