파란노을 (Parannoul) (South Korea)
Bedroom indie pop with IMAX ambitions
The new album by 파란노을 (Parannoul) begins with "북극성 (Polaris)" and a series of chords that sound as clean and vibrant as the snow (is it snow?) on the album cover. Then we reach the halfway mark. The song, unexpectedly and spectacularly, disintegrates like sad stardust. South Korean bedroom indie pop, at least in the states and in my corner of the Internet, doesn't have the consistent and market-tested identity of K-Pop, but "Polaris" and the rest of 'After the Magic' makes me want to explore more of what an anime would sound like if written by M83. Many of my colleagues enjoyed Parannoul's previous record, 2021's 'To See the Next Part of the Dream.' 'After the Magic' will convert everyone else, including me. My first notable album listening experience of 2023.