Tempest Set Sail on a Different Journey in “TEMPEST Voyage”

Tempest Set Sail on a Different Journey in “TEMPEST Voyage”

Embarking on a journey with the beginning of their ‘Storm’ series last year, Tempest ventured head first into a turbulent storm as they expressed their aspirations for recognition as artists.

Dangerous” was a great start to their adventure, showcasing the members’ vivid charms. Though after going deeper into the storm, the wind and waves proved to be relentlessly fierce as “Vroom Vroom” completely stripped the group of their unique musical color. But as the saying goes, no storm can last forever. And with different styles and ambitions, Tempest have finally made it out of the intense downpour and hope to set about on a new expedition in TEMPEST Voyage.

The growth from the harsh storm is apparent, and the group’s latest album appears more subdued than previous releases while still being on the lighter side of Tempest’s discography. Lead single “Lighthouse” stands at the forefront here and represents the beacon of light that the boys hope to become for others while out on the sea.

“Lighthouse” is a breezy and playful piece. Its deep/tropical house instrumental transports listeners back to the late 2010s when the industry was in abundance with such tracks. Though in the current K-pop landscape, this kind of sound is incredibly refreshing and makes for a perfect match for the spring and summer seasons as the members sing about their resolve to be a bright light even in the midst of the dark ocean:

You can wander a little more

This night will surely bring you to me

I’ve been waiting, lower the anchor to me

You’re already not afraid

Paradise, entice

Lighthouse that secretly guides you

The bouncy synths in tandem with the boys’ smooth voices during the opening work nicely to enthrall listeners, almost as if inviting them to go on the voyage. This gradually becomes more potent as the song goes on before setting sail with a strong chorus that spotlights a powerful yet comforting vocal melody. Its upbeat momentum continues in the verses and bridge, keeping up the positive energy from beginning to end.

“Lighthouse” may not reach the heights of Tempest’s best singles “Can’t Stop Shining” and “Dangerous,” but its feel-good atmosphere is hard to resist and remains a solid number nonetheless.

Following the title track are the B-sides which, on the most part, don’t fit that well together musically or thematically. This isn’t to say that the EP is disorienting since the B-sides use a subdued approach that on paper, should coordinate with one another. However, the lack of connection between the songs is evident and because the B-sides all take on a muted tone, there isn’t one that’s significantly memorable. Considering past Tempest albums which typically had at least one standout piece even when the lead single was less than impressive, this is a bit unexpected.

Starting with “There,” the combination of the bass, percussion, and lovely vocals create a mellow ambience that’s almost hauntingly beautiful. Rather than delve deep into the evocative air, though, much of the tune stays at the surface. It isn’t until the end of the bridge when things become more intriguing as Hyuk’s high note leads to the final chorus with added synths and prominent vocal harmonies and ad-libs. This outro ends the number on a pleasant but somewhat regretful note as feelings of missed opportunities linger.

“B.O.K” brings about similar sentiments. With the tune including noticeable rock influences, the striking electric guitar riffs get the most feature as they pierce the otherwise hazy mood all throughout the track. Though like “There,” it seems like a missed opportunity for a more robust piece. Despite having the elements to do so, the song never really takes off and instead opts for a weaker and gentler atmosphere. This is harmless on a broader scale but after seeing how brilliantly Tempest’s talents and unique charms shine with vibrant numbers, the softness of “B.O.K” feels limiting in comparison.

“Slow Motion,” out of the three B-sides, is perhaps the most noteworthy on the album and also the closest to the group’s initial fresh and funky sound. It does move at a slower pace as the title suggests, but the instrumental with its synths, keyboard, and snappy percussion is incessantly groovy and gives the tune a playful bounciness to it. The arrangement is charming, and the members’ stunning vocals further elevate the track. Similar to “Lighthouse,” “Slow Motion” doesn’t stick out compared to other funkier numbers in Tempest’s discography, but it’s fun as the ending tune for the EP.

Looking at the album as a whole, TEMPEST Voyage is rather middling. The track listing isn’t astonishing enough to take your breath away but at the same time, the only prominent drawback of the songs is being just slightly dissatisfying. This is a first for the group whose past releases have usually shifted between severe disappointment and absolute gold. “Lighthouse” and B-sides fall under the latter category this time around, albeit the weakest of the bunch. And while the record isn’t necessarily awe-inspiring, there are hints of adventure and experimentation. They’re subtle but definitely there, and this is hopefully an optimistic sign that the boys will continue their journey on the sea as they develop and explore different musical styles. Lastly, one can only hope that member Hwarang, who has been absent from the group’s latest activities with little explanation, is there for the voyage alongside them.

(YouTube. Lyrics via Genius. Images via Yuehua Entertainment.)

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