EXO members Chanyeol and Sehun have joined forces to create EXO-SC, the second official subunit of EXO, following in the footsteps of EXO-CBX in 2016, and releasing their debut mini-album What A Life.
The duo jostle between despondent rap verses, and animated choruses over heavy trap beats and detuned xylophone hits on opening title track What A Life. Even if it stays on one level, musically, it’s a decent start.
Just Us 2 and Closer To You feel equally optimistic, with more interesting instrumentation, with the latter channelling a groovy electro-lounge-pop sound and a rolling, compressed rhythm.
As What A Life progresses, each track grows stronger than the last, with the closing half providing a solid ending.
Roller Coaster’s plucked keyboard chords, and wrung out flute notes create a smooth R’n’B grind, evoking exotic imagery, before Daydreamin’ merges slow-jam electropop with string quartet swells, bluesy guitar licks and laid-back raps. It shouldn’t work, but it is so finely balanced alongside its dreamlike lyrics, that it ends up being arguably the best song here.
They might be in one of the biggest K-pop bands of all time, but Chanyeol and Sehun have really shown they can be a viable force to be reckoned with as a two-piece. If this debut is anything to go by, EXO-SC could have quite the life.