Welcome to another Rapid Review! I’ve used this series to explore K-pop albums made during 2012-2015. Thus far, I’ve reviewed albums or artists that I know and love. Well, I decided to journey a little further out by listening to artists I myself missed. I got into Hallyu around 2013 but mainly listened to underground artists for a while. Today, I’m looking at SPICA and their first mini-album, “Russian Roulette.”
The group debuted in 2012 and made a name for themselves with their strong vocals. Unfortunately, they disbanded in 2017, but it’s never too late to discover a new band.
In the interest of honesty, I should confess something to you. While I love synth-pop and disco, I’m not a fan of 1980s glam rock. The wall of synth and guitars battling, the over-emoting. It’s just not my brand of Overkill. The album definitely plays with a disco/glam rock sound. K-pop tends to run more retro to me, so it’s not a surprise they went there. After all, those genres of rock work best with powerhouse vocals, à la Freddie Mercury and Donna Summer.
Unfortunately, I feel they dropped the ball with the production. “No More” has a whiny synth chord through the chorus, and it really distracted me when I should have been dancing. It’s overproduced, and with the ladies’ already strong vocals, it was too busy for me. The title track, “Russian Roulette,” is a step in the right direction, but it still falls short.
For me, “Diary” and “Up and Down” work better for the group. While the production still isn’t the best, it supports the vocals rather than competes with them.
The production borders on amateurish to me. While SPICA themselves are great vocalists, it wasn’t enough to overcome the obstacles.
Russian Roulette, No More
Up and Down, Diary,
While having good instincts and great vocals, the album’s weak production holds the album back from its full potential.