Good news: another anticipated debut has delivered. Give a warm welcome to UNB, a project group formed by idols from previously debuted but unknown groups on KBS survival show The Unit. Their double-title track debut features songs “Sense” (or “Feeling”) and “Only One,” two distinct tracks designed to show off the group’s diverse capabilities. Dance track “Sense,” the only song with a music video so far, definitely takes the spotlight on this release. Still, EP “Boyhood” is an engaging listen from start to finish, partly because it’s so determined to showcase the members’ different sides, so the moods never blend together despite the fact that none of the songs stray far from electronic pop.
“Sense” is one of those debuts that satisfies across the board although it doesn’t dare to color outside the lines. It’s clear that a lot of thought was put into the creation of this song. The piano melody is simple but high-impact from the beginning, and the song builds a dance beat upon these chords, to a darkly mysterious effect. Its staticky synths and bass offer a distinctive edge, but other than that it’s a crowd-pleaser, with multiple solid hooks that are easy to follow and a beat that develops as it advances. The chorus is written to suit the big, straightforward vocals of members Chan (of A.C.E) and Jun (of U-KISS), both of whom show up impressively, while rappers Feeldog (of BIGSTAR) and Marco (of HBY) have an attention-grabbing verse as well. I’ll admit, I didn’t watch a single minute of The Unit (after getting through season 2 of Produce 101, I promised myself I’d never watch a survival show again), but I can’t help but feel that this song does a great job of showing off the members’ talents, which isn’t always the case with debuts.
“Only One,” the softer title track, doesn’t get half the work done that “Sense” does. Still, as stadium pop ballads go, it’s quite nice. The sweet melody of the chorus is complemented by a minute shift in the instrumental that happens halfway through it, pushing a faint new line of synths whose brightly ringing texture quickens the dynamic. With its sentimental lyrics, “Only One” is more tender than “Sense,” and UNB comes off very sincere (am I A.C.E biased or is Chan really nailing it?), which is something that didn’t show through it the same way on “Sense.” “Only One” may not be particularly striking, but it’s effective.
The album’s other two songs demonstrate more of the refined production that we saw on the title tracks, but in new shapes. The song to catch my attention the most quickly was, in fact, the slick, R&B-influenced “Ride With Me,” whose wubby synths have a bit of a throwback quality to them which UNB maneuvers with polish. The paced EDM of “Rebooting” may plod a bit compared to the rest of the album, but hey, it’s not bad. Not every rookie group can say they delivered a debut album that’s this good straight through. UNB has some serious potential, and I can’t wait to see what concept they’ll zero in on over the next few comebacks.
SENSE & ONLY ONE: KAYBOP OR KAYFLOP? Doubtless bop and likely bop.
Take a look at UNB’s “Sense” MV below: