I time travel back to April this time to cover Dream Catcher’s second studio album, Apocalypse: Save Us. This was released mid-April with the title track, MAISON, as its lead track. The album features two halves, one full of group tracks and the other half is made up of solo tracks from each of the members. There is also an introductory track and an interlude questionably labelled as a skit (both of which do not feature as part of the final album rating as they do not feature lyrics). In total, Apocalypse: Save Us features 14 tracks to satisfy our Dream Catcher music cravings.
Another strong album from Dream Catcher, which features a number of 10/10 tracks. Find out which songs I gave the perfect rating to down below! Honestly, I am not surprised about this. Dream Catcher has always given us strong side tracks, and Apocalypse: Save Us is not exception. I also liked that the members got to explore individual sounds with their solo tracks. As a result of this, we were given very different tracks to what we usually hear from Dream Catcher as a group. There is probably something for everyone on this album! Also, each member shot a MV (branded as a ‘special clip’ on their YouTube channel). I have included a link to each video, so make sure you check the videos out as well!
1. Intro: Save Us – Beginning the album is this instrumental introductory track, which can be further broken into two halves. The first half is this haunting and sinister classical organ instrumental, and the second half is a hip guitar instrumental that feels very urban and contemporary.
2. Locked Inside a Door – Following the introductory track, we move onto the album’s first 10/10 song. This album really sets itself up from the beginning. Locked Inside a Door is a groovy track thanks to its jazzy instrumental. And like most groovy numbers these days, I find myself having a bit of a dance along to the music when I hear it. I liked how both Dream Catcher embraced this jazzy side, going with some awesome vocal and rapping delivery and styles that work hand-in-hand with the genre. I also enjoyed how they were upfront, allowing their vocals to gain a stronger vibrant and appealing tinge. (10/10)
3. MAISON (Title Track) – Click here to read the full review for MAISON. (8/10)
4. Starlight – Starlight tackles the synthpop genre, and I am loving it! I found the instrumentation to be blissful and quite a vibe throughout. I really like the consistency from start to end. Most of the time, I am complaining about songs being too consistent. But Starlight definitely thrives and excels as a result of this consistent approach. The vocals align nicely, and I quite liked how the producers did an amazing job ensuring that the song matches up with the rest of Dream Catcher’s discography. Dami, in particular, shines in this song. (10/10)
5. Together – Together continues the experimentation with different musical styles, this time dabbling in deep house. I liked how club ready this song is. I also enjoyed the way their vocals are kept delicate and soft, placing emphasis on breathy tones. In addition, I liked the pop of energy added to the chorus through that vibrant synth, giving the catchy sequence some depth, grooviness and allowing the chorus to be quite distinct from the rest of the song. The ‘Say that you love me’ repetition in the second half of the chorus is super catchy. Siyeon’s high note was spectacular. I have to admit though, this sone is slightly more plain than what we have heard so far. But it still a strong number. (9/10)
6. Always – Once again, Dream Catcher changes it up the trajectory of this album with a different genre. This time, it is ballad. If you know me, I have a soft spot for ballads. And Always proves just that. Always is a beautiful instrumented ballad with stunning piano work as the basis of the instrumental. It is also complete with wonderful and captivating vocals. The swayable melodies are just to die for and adds a memorable aspect to the song. (10/10)
7. Skit: The Seven Doors – The Seven Doors acts as an interlude between the two halves of the album. The first half (what we have heard thus far) are the group songs, while the second half (what we are about to venture into) are solo tracks from each of the members. The Seven Doors itself brings it all back to their energetic rock roots which sounds appropriate as an anime soundtrack. It is squashed between an atmospheric wind intro and nature sounds as the outro. My biggest question is, however, why is The Seven Doors labelled a skit?
8. Cherry (Real Miracle) – The first solo track on the album belongs to JiU. It is a cute track about her dog named Cherry. Cuteness is not something I would ever associate with Dream Catcher, so a track like this is actually quite refreshing and different. I enjoyed the upbeat funky and groovy vibes that’s Cherry (Real Miracle) had. A lovely and satisfying track, overall. (8/10)
9. No Dot – On a much more serious note is No Dot, which is SuA’s solo track. This is more within Dream Catcher’s wheelhouse for obvious reasons. No Dot is quite intense, thanks to the trap and rock elements in the instrumental. I also liked how the bass bolstered and added definition to the song towards the end, concentrating the darker and more intense notes of No Dot. SuA also sounds amazing, particularly when she uses her lower and breathy tones in the post-chorus hooks. (9/10)
10. Entrancing (황홀경 (极夜)) – As mentioned earlier in the review, I am a sucker for ballads. And Siyeon’s solo track, Entrancing, does exactly as the title suggests. It is a ballad that is draws influences from traditional Korean music. But it is not just that. Entrancing sounds like it uses a mix of classical, traditional and modern instruments to bring the captivating effect to life. It is very unique and leaves me floored (imagine my jaws dropping to the floor). Siyeon’s vocals were stunning and breathtaking throughout Entrancing, drifting along with the melodies. There was also a soft rap in the song, something I would not have expected with such a delicate song. (10/10)
11. Winter (한겨울 (寒冬)) – The next solo song (belonging to Handong) is another ballad. But this time, it takes the form of a R&B ballad. This song is quite delicate and remains quite soft throughout, reminding you of a winter’s day. Personally, Winter is not my type of song. Usually, I find the style dry and Winter did fall into that trap. Handong does surprise me at the end with an acapella ending that did perk my interest. Also interesting is that she ended the Korean centric song with Chinese lyrics. (7.5/10)
12. For – Yoohyeon‘s solo track, For, is an old time jazzy number. The track is well executed. From the jazzy instrumental to the sweet vocals from Yoohyeon, everything was on point and sounded ideal for the direction in which the influences had directed the song to go towards. What was quite unexpected was the fact majority of For is in English (sans a couple of Korean words in the choruses). To me, that is quite a surprise and give Yoohyeon a unique edge with her solo track (when compared to the other members). (8/10)
13. Beauty Full – Beauty Full is up next, headed by Dami. I have high expectations with her solo track, simply because she is my favourite member of the group! Consider Beauty Full to hit those expectations! Her track taps into the pop rock genre that has been in abundance in KPOP with some more recent releases. Beauty Full is pretty nostalgic for me (as are the other pop rock KPOP tracks), as pop rock is what I grew up with. I liked the vibrant energy that is coming from the song, with some really satisfying head nodding sequences. Dami’s vocals are superb and her rapping is top notch (per usual). The anthem direction of the bridge was very cool, as well. I might be bias heading into this track, but I leave happy and satisfied. (10/10)
14. Playground – We end the lengthy album with a vibrant and cheerful track from Gahyeon. Playground is a pleasant track that makes me smile while I listen to it. It is largely pop, but there are also some funky and jazzy elements as well. I also liked the subtle violin and brass in the instrumental. Gahyeon sounds really nice throughout Playground, though I think a high note (which might be beyond her abilities) would have really added the cherry on top for me. (8/10)
Overall Album Rating – 9/10