Review: X-5’s “Xenos”

X-5 is a 5 member group who are labelmates of Dae Guk Nam Ah/The Boss. It consists of two former members of the trot group 3 Chongsa and two members who were to be part of the 5th generation of Xing. They released their debut EP “Xenos” a few months ago and with my interest in the boys growing (and having been a fan of 3 Chongsa and Xing), I felt like I should take the time to finally review what they had released. 

The mini starts off the with the intro Xenos 5 (Shout Out By 라이머/Rhymer) that has a piano melody throughout that mimics the instrumental of the title track and their debut single. It mainly consists of one of the members Haewon repeating “X-5” along with listing all of the members’ names and he is then joined by Rhymer for the middle section of the track. It’s an intro so there’s not a lot that can be said about it, but it gives a nice build up to the mini and the following track and has a generally good sound to it.

This builds up to their debut single 쇼 하지마 (Show is Over) which is a song that features a mix of harmonies, powerful vocal lines, rapping, a strong beat and an interesting, synth based instrumental. I can be quite picky when it comes to rappers, I like them to have a certain sound to them, but I like the sound of the rappers within this group, particularly in this song. All of the members all have really nice voices that go well together. The song is melodically, vocally and lyrically strong for me and I feel it was a good debut song for them.

Fantasy is the next track on this mini. There are a lot of vocal effects put on (not so much autotune, but things such as reverb and such, though autotune does exist in the song) but it’s more than bearable and I feel it just adds to the overall feel of the song. The song has a pretty basic instrumental that seems to focus on a beat rather more than having a melodic instrumental for the verses but there is a nice use of synths within the chorus. I find this song to not be my favourite but it is still a generally catchy and listenable song.

The final track on this EP is 내 눈 앞에 띄지 마 (Don’t Come Near Me) and as the title would suggest, is a more ballady song but is an upbeat ballad at the same time. I really love the power notes and the harmonies that exist within the chorus of this song. The polyphony that exists for some parts of the song when there are people singing different parts underneath someone else’s lines is also an enjoyable feature. The instrumental combined with the vocals build up really nicely together from time to time, particularly in the chorus and makes for the whole song to be well rounded. This is a personal favourite of mine from the single..

There were a lot of people that had high expectations for this group and were disappointed. I however, am not one of those people. I did have high expectations but they met those expectations. This is the type of music I would have expected from Open World Entertainment, the boys are vocally pretty strong and the whole mini has a generally great sound to it with the songs having a different feeling in each of them. I’m definitely more than impressed and I do hope they will release a lot more in the future.

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