Just like last year, the lack of reviews for newly debut artists looks like I have neglected the rookies of KPOP. A number of groups have already made their entrance in the industry this year and they all equally deserve to be checked out. After all, you will never know when you will discover your newest favourite act. xikers is the newest male group from KQ Entertainment, which is also the home of ATEEZ. xikers feature a 10-member lineup, consisting of Minjae, Jumin, Sumin, Jinsik, Hyunwoo, Junghoon, Seeun, Hunter, Yujun and Yechan. They made their debut on 30 March of this year with their debut single TRICKY HOUSE and their first mini-album, HOUSE OF TRICKY: Doorbell Ringing.
TRICKY HOUSE kicks xikers’ careers off with a song with a high intensity and bold electronic sound. Noisy might pop into your mind, and I totally can hear why. The basis of TRICKY HOUSE doesn’t initially standout very much. I was hoping for a cool detail/direction to the electronic sound, but it was all just coming at you with little reprieve. However, as I listened to TRICKY HOUSE more, I came to appreciate some elements that ultimately set them apart from similar songs that go down this direction. The first thing that pops out at me when I listen to TRICKY HOUSE closely is the Bollywood/Moombahton influence that the instrumental carries. It pokes through the electronic elements of the instrumental ever so slightly, so it can easily be missed if you aren’t pay attention. However, I do feel like the two clash and creates that ‘noisy’ atmosphere. Maybe if they weren’t too mashed together, a better appreciation would come about for TRICKY HOUSE. As an element on its own, I felt this brought a unique vibe to the song. It isn’t necessarily a new sound in KPOP, but it does bring something different to the table. Another aspect that stood out for me is xikers’ delivery of TRICKY HOUSE. The rapping was quite powerful and left an expressive impression. Vocals take a back seat in the song, but there is enough there to ensure the vocalists sound good. Altogether, the song helps shows off their capabilities, beneficial for any artist starting out. I do feel like their vocals and raps could have been more attractive with a killer and memorable hook, which I felt is a missing element to help the song stand out further. Overall, TRICKY HOUSE is a good start and I definitely would like to hear something even more unique and individualistic from the group.
The music video shows a businessman experiencing a world where he lets go of the social norms that he is a part of and to be himself. And this is what the entire song is about – to embrace and be yourself. In the video, the members help edge him on, as does the music that blasts through the headphones. They take him to the arcade, have a dance off with people in cosplay costumes, smash up an ATM, and do doughnuts in a sports car. Pretty much everything he would never do. And the members were all there alongside of him to experience the high he is experience. I really liked the settings of the video, as they helped highlight the edgy profile of the song. And the post-production, such as the train roof splitting open to show gears and the incorporation of the members into the middle of the doughnuts as they were happening, helped make the video look intense and cool.
Their stage presence was phenomenal. I had to check out a few stage performance to make sure it was not a one-off thing, and I am so glad it wasn’t. xikers definitely have a future in front of them, if they keep up the stage presence. Having a super intense and energetic song helps, but the energy they put behind their choreography and facial expressions makes quite an impression and their chemistry on stage was awesome to watch. That backward twist in the final moments of the choruses was super cool and definitely was a showstopper.
Song – 7.5/10
Music Video – 9/10
Performance – 10/10
Overall Rating – 8.5/10