Rookie boy group A.C.E is back with another fast-paced title track that solidifies their darkly colorful and energetic brand. Single “Callin” is essentially “Cactus” 2.0, copying their debut’s structure almost to the letter but upping the ante on the composition and production. I’ll be honest and admit that I was not immediately on board with “Cactus” this spring. I found it just the slightest bit too noisy and scattered, largely because super-fast dance choruses don’t usually appeal to me much. “Callin,” though, has brought back all the elements of “Cactus” in a way that completely won me over.
The verses, whose pace is comparatively gentle, are a delight for the ears. Tensely rolling synths provide dynamic support for the engaging melody, which is delivered both by vocalists and rappers. Vocals also make a strong appearance in the first part of the chorus, whose “Cactus”-reminiscent beat gallops forward almost frantically, with a particularly satisfying one-two-three punch preceding certain measures. I don’t love the latter half of the hook where, just like in “Cactus,” a shrill and tuneless instrumental allows space to repeat the track’s title but little else. But A.C.E’s certified vocal talents easily make up for this lack throughout the rest of the song.
Kudos to A.C.E for unapologetically establishing their own style, because it’s a sound that little other K-pop has approached lately. Perhaps the only comparable act is Dreamcatcher, but this girl group brings fast-paced hooks to rock, not to dance pop. In carving out a bit of a niche for themselves, A.C.E has already gained a solid, if small, fanbase. Though this hyperspeed dance sound isn’t my favorite, I do hope that A.C.E sticks with it, as it’s refreshing to see a group with one sound that’s all its own.
CALLIN: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Yeah, this is a bop.
Take a look at A.C.E’s “Callin” MV below: