Come and see what this nine-member boy group brings to the table
2019 is the year of maximalism, they say––they being the Met Gala committee when they announced Camp as this year’s theme, they being interior design authorities or fashion designers as they trade in stripped-down, solid hues for prints and textures and frills. It’s 2019 and there is this essence of excess everywhere, even in the one realm I’ve recognized as home for a long time: K-Pop. There are survival shows angled towards forming new groups. There are non-Korean K-Pop groups (yes, you read that right) giving kids a ticket to their celebrity dreams. These, on top of the regular stream of debuts the industry sees every year, make it damn near impossible to keep an accurate count of how many idol groups are promoting, let alone in existence.
With the music scene so saturated, it’s a feat in itself to have any sort of name recall.
|One name that has set off a blip in our radar is Noir. Their name carries a certain kind of familiarity, like a classmate you’re sure you’ve shared a class with or a name you’ve heard in passing. For some time now we’ve known of them but not much about them. My knowledge, I'll admit, had long plateaued at surface level before penning this article. What I did know about them mostly stemmed from the fact that they’ve been to the Philippines twice: first in December 2018, then in March for the Korean Friendship Concert in Manila.
Noir’s third visit, this time for a fan meeting with their local Lumieres, is slated for this August. You know what they say about the third time being the charm, don’t you? It’s high-time we got to know this 9-piece group a little better.
Noir hails from a South Korean entertainment label called Luk Factory. Objectively speaking, the company hasn’t produced any hit groups before Noir. Despite Luk Factory’s low profile, the industry has transformed into a playing field where the reputation doesn't always equate to success. Smaller labels have started to surface as big players. And with Noir’s promising mix of members, they may very well be the ones to put their agency on the map.
|A skim through the group’s discography peels back a few interesting layers. In an industry so deeply rooted in concepts and visuals, versatility is the name of the game in K-Pop. Despite the pressure on rookie groups to shift from one image to the next, Noir is sticking to their guns, releasing tracks they’re confident they can pull off the best. Dynamic. Explosive. Synth-heavy.
This isn’t to say that they’re resting on their laurels, though. Their most recent mini-album, Abyss, offers a good peek into the diversity that exists beyond their aggressive title tracks. DIAMOND, for instance, takes only a few seconds to establish a mood that is both snappy and relaxed, a casual kind of upbeat that highlights the contrast between the rough, ringing voices of rappers and the unique timbre of the vocalists in the group.
Hello is arguably the biggest departure from the sound Noir is known for. It rides a basic piano progression and builds up to a medium-tempo chorus. Both B-side tracks off Abyss make for easy listening––quite the contrast when pit against songs like Gangsta, Airplane Mode and Doom Doom.
Where Noir arguably shines brightest though, is in those moments where their personalities can show through. Like many an idol group, they kicked off their introduction to the public with a pre-debut show called Action Noir. Since then, they've been churning out covers, behind-the-scenes clips and VLives to keep their fans in the loop. In the same way that each member brings a distinct sound to Noir, they’re an interesting mix of personalities, too. Add that to the fact that they know a thing or two about maintaining steady stream of content, and you’ve got a well-fed fandom.
With just a little over a year of experience under Noir’s belt, there’s still plenty of room for possibility. There’s no shortage of potential here.
See more of Noir when they head back to Philippines shores this August for their The Ninth fan meeting.
Art Alexandra Lara