With the return of 2NE1, NS Yoon-G, and EXID as well as the much-anticipated debuts of D-Unit, EvoL, A.O.A, GLAM, and Tiny-G, the second half of 2012 is shaping up to spotlight some ridiculously talented girls.
While we’re all super pumped about A.O.A playing their own instruments and EvoL writing their own songs, there aren’t a whole lot of K-Pop girl groups that do both. It was a breath of fresh air when earlier this week, I stumbled across indie rock band Nia, and their latest release, ‘Summer Wink‘.
Never heard of Nia? The four-member band had some mainstream success around 2010, making TV appearances and doing some radio and magazine interviews. Since then, they’ve had some member changes and somewhat gotten away from the mainstream market, focusing more on the indie rock scene.
‘Summer Wink’ (released August 10) is a short album, but it packs a punch. Nia kicks things off with the title track, a spunky, summery bit of pop-rock that is probably a lot of fun at live shows. The lyrics talk about a person wanting to go to the beach with a special someone and confess her love. The tight, straightforward instrumentals, powerhouse vocals, and well-executed harmonies remind me of F.T. Island‘s peppier tunes, such as “Flower Rock“. The music video is very pretty, but simple- it features footage of the singer going to the beach, intercut with shots of the band playing the song. She’s not great at lip synching, but since this band always sings live, she probably doesn’t get a lot of practice. It’s something I’m sure we can all live with.
“Sensation” starts off with a heavier feel than “Summer Wink”, but quickly settles into a Bee Gees-disco-funk groove with a rock edge. I feel like the instrumental overpowers the solo vocals a little, but when the girls sing in harmony, it sounds great.
There are two versions of the ballad “Sad Feeling” included on the album. The lyrics speak of feeling confusion and regret over a past love- the singer knows her ex has forgotten her and moved on, but she can’t seem to do the same. Both versions have different colors to them, but they’re each very emotional and expressive in their own way.
The first version of the song is a rock ballad. It starts out softly, with breathy vocals over a fingerpicked, acoustic guitar. The arrangement has an ebb and flow; the verses are soft and quiet, while the choruses are more powerful, bringing in heavier drums and some electric guitar. I think this would make a great OST- it kind of reminds me of the OST for ‘You’re Beautiful‘, but with a slightly edgier sound.
The second version is dubbed the “piano version”. I really appreciate that they recorded the vocals for both tracks separately- I can’t stand it when a group puts out a “ballad version” of a song, but keeps the same vocal recording from the original. Vocalists need to hear the music as they sing, so that their voice will add to the instrumental instead of fighting with it. Nia’s lead singer, Nara, rises to the occasion, capturing the emotion of both versions with sensitivity.
Be sure to check out their Facebook page, where you can see several live performance videos of their own songs, as well as a couple of cover song performances. I’m a massive SECRET fan, so I loved seeing Nia tackle “Magic” in their own style. While you’re taking a listen to all the fierce girl bands’ music that’s coming out these days, be sure and give Nia a listen too!
What are your thoughts on Nia′s ‘Summer Wink’? Leave an honest rating and your thoughts in the comments below.