You can’t always judge a book by its cover, and you can’t always judge a rookie by their debut song. K-pop history is full of strong groups who debuted with subpar material (Girl’s Day and ZE:A say hello), and we may need to add Ciipher to that list. Last spring’s I Like You was an oddly low-key effort, with generic production and an amateurish performance. But with follow-up Blind (콩깍지), the guys have vaulted to a whole new level. While the song is still rough around the edges, its standout drop and addictive energy reinvents Ciipher’s sound in a compelling way.
Like so many K-pop tracks, Blind works in fits and starts. Its verses are its weakest element, dialing back too far on energy. From what they’ve presented so far, Ciipher seem to be a hip-hop focused group, and the song’s rap makes an impact. But, I wish the melodies offered the same jolt.
Thankfully, this is not an issue during the pre-chorus and hook. These segments are fantastic, and easily make Blind a standout effort. The pre-chorus build is enthralling, underlined by robust synth as the percussion gathers steam. It’s not particularly original, but it’s executed very well. This leads into a wonderful guitar riff, powering the simple, chant-along chorus. Usually, I’d be pining for more melody, but Blind’s hook has a gawky playfulness that’s surprisingly satisfying. The song grows even stronger when the vocals are allowed to soar, injecting additional power into the breakneck pace of the instrumental. This is the kind of unabashedly big energy I hope to see from rookies.