Expat band based on Korea deliver impressive indie stomper. GIGsoup’s Alexander Lucas reviews the new Used Cassettes LP
‘Rock N Rills’ opens with nearly 7 minutes worth of stomping indie rock in the form of ‘At Barcelona’, a bold album opener that has singer Danny slur through verse and chorus like a lazy road-trip through a sun drenched holiday. The last moments of the song punch through a looping breakdown of scratchy tube driven guitars, then in 60’s Elvis style fades out and back in again for one last go at it.
That’s just the album opener. You’d be forgiven for feeling the holiday spirit already.
‘Used Cassettes’ are an Expat band based in Seoul, Korea. A truly global gathering of members from across the world, they’ve built a name for themselves amidst the Korean rock scene… Which is a good thing (don’t worry, you’re excused for knowing zero bands involved in said Korean scene).
But then that’s as Korean as it gets, which is I think the downside of this album. For a band embracing such a rich and colourful culture, ‘Rock N Rills’ sounds so much like The Strokes that it is a little disheartening (not that that could ever be too bad a thing). You may find yourself longing for something a bit more out of the album, something that takes the arm bands off and jumps into the deep-end.
There are moments that break from that limitation though; the aforementioned album opener and the incredibly catchy ‘Ducati’ which builds around an oriental yet indie guitar riff and recalls the heartache of love and loss in the light-hearted tale of a taken Ducati.
The oriental blend into their sound is clearly not the intention though. These are some dudes who met in Seoul now using music from their western heritage to play to a new audience. Had you no idea of the story, the music would speak for itself. The sparkling guitar tones and fuzzy basslines would sit beautifully over a setting sun at a British festival. You could close your eyes and find yourself in 2008 when The Libertines and garage indie was king. Don your leather jacket, light a cigarette and dream of how these moments would last forever. All that mattered was the sudden importance of rock and roll.
Which is exactly how this sounds. Used Cassettes are having fun, perhaps that’s the beauty of this, they’ve transcended the need to go back to harsh, bitter reality. together they’ve found a way for it to be summer forever. One endless road-trip through the streets of Seoul.
Do yourself a favour, add the final track of the album ‘ROCK N RILL’ to your summer BBQ playlist. When it comes on and your mates ask what Strokes album it’s from, pause. Swig your beer and point out that they’re listening to ‘Used Cassettes’ who are “an indie band from Korea actually”. Don’t forget to point out “You’ve probably never heard of them”. I think you’ll all agree it’s very, very cool. Although your friends will hate you for being that guy. Worth it.
‘Rock N Rill’ is available now through ‘Magic Strawberry Sound’
This Used Cassettes article was written by Alexander Lucas, a GIGsoup contributor