The Two Koreas – Science Island

The Two Koreas – Science Island

The driving force of influences is probably the most engrossing aspect about any one band. And furthermore, the way influences are able to mask and appear in the most subtle of ways is always the best kind of musical progression. For many bands, finding a happy medium between what your influences have gifted and what you’re capable of is a tricky situation; however, once the balance is corrected and delivered, the results can be some of the best. There’s always bands that, of course, are influenced by The Beatles; who can actually take that and turn it into something refreshingly different?

For the brand of rock that The Two Koreas create, one can easily find that bands like Pavement are strongly endorsed but somehow, the music is able to speak on greater terms than simply a resembling style. On Science Island, the band takes many of the same heady, ‘slacker’ mentality melodies and infuse them with an all-encompassing blend of various other grand influences. See, the aspect about The Two Koreas is that music is meant to be all-inviting and entirely inclusive of everything and, with their latest album, they’ve delivered a solid account of just that.

Promoting a new sub-genre they’ve playfully titled “glacier garage” (music that is built around the same premises of garage rock except with an added element of actual freeze to the layering) The Two Koreas sometimes sounds like a mix between The Cars and the aforementioned Pavement, but with a strong notion of 70s nostalgia added for good measure. On “Haunted Beach” you can almost hear a certain B-52s presence but when the bottom lets out to reveal a grunge guitar and pleading vocals, the style quickly adapts as well. Many of the songs travel through different modes and shifts before settling on an overall scope. And while the aspect of harmony isn’t one that is at the top of the priority list, there is always a great deal of atmosphere swirling around Science Island.

With the mentioning of dissimilar moods, “Majored in Swimming” perfectly depicts the translucent feel the water seems to have, and it’s on this song that everything seems to open a bit to reveal a much brighter sound. Sounding eerily close to Bloc Party, there is a minor dissonance that creeps in from behind and the music enthralls for a seven minute tour de force of sweeping gestures. The sounds always sound significantly important – as if everything needs to be positioned in its particular spot – but the band manipulates them in a way that they come off effortlessly clear. It’s a confident appearance and a winning combination.

It’s not the influences that make the band but there’s definitely a clear understanding of how the two go hand in hand. As two separate entities, as their name suggests, the opposite countries obviously have much more than they realize in common. And, in the end, Science Island is filled to the brim with underlying similarities and contrasts to everyday rock. There’s substance in going against the grain and The Two Koreas are capable of such occurrences, new genre and all.

Randy Vicar Records / Last Gang Labels