Radio Quarantine -쏜애플(Thornapple) – 계몽(Enlightenment) (2019)

I’m trying to decide if 쏜애플(Thornapple) bears any real resemblance to the generally heavier and stranger and drug-fueled music that we call psychedelic in the West. I suspect that despite all the influence in Korea from the West, they still have their own ideas about what bends the mind and perception of the world. It occurs to me that my definition of psychedelic is probably more narrow than it should be and framed by my own narrow cultural influences. Enlightenment is more indie-pop by our standard definitions, but bias aside, it really kind of rocks. I’ve always leaned more into rock than pop but as far as pop goes, this is everything that I enjoy.

This is another case, I suspect, where a lot is lost in translation. I read an interview/article that spoke of their main songwriter’s struggles with mental illness, anxiety etc. These are topics apparently that aren’t aired as freely as they are here in The United States, and the hesitancy to bring it public probably makes it more genuine. The problem here is that while on the one hand it’s important to normalize and not stigmatize, it often becomes performative, or a marketing ploy… as in, a presentation of the personal uniqueness of the artist rather than a genuine expression through art. Struggles with mental illness can result in unique art and music, but they hardly make the artist unique. And it doesn’t necessarily mean that the artist wants to connect to regular people with regular problems, yet the marketing people behind them are going to try to present it as such. It could be the same in Korea. Again, there is a lot lost in translation. I just don’t know.

The bottom line is these guys are remarkably talented from front to back. If I could sing like this dude, I’d never speak anything. No joke. He has the voice of an angel. Great guitarist. Deadly rhythm section. It is, once more, everything I like in pop music. I’m totally impressed.

And this is about as close to a traditional review as I’m going to get. That wasn’t the intent but it’s a lot to process new music sometimes.

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