Out of the multitude of rookie idol groups to debut in 2012, from the intriguing AOA to the curious Crayon Pop and splashy Hello Venus, no one impressed more than SPICA, a collection of talented kind-of-castoffs composed of vocal trainers, backup singers and trainees whose projects had never gotten off the ground. With that much experience between them, SPICA is unsurprisingly mature for a rookie group with all of their members being born in the late 1980′s, which makes them women among the girls of their class. Age works in SPICA’s favor though. Their vocal work is head and shoulders above their younger competition. That allowed SPICA to forego the poppy synths and electronica of their less talented brethren in favor of more traditional R&B elements and showcase their amazing pipes. Their pre-debut single and music video entitled ‘Potently’ (or ‘Doggedly’ depending on the translation), which sadly doesn’t actually have a single SPICA member in it (but does have the fantastically sexy Lee Hyori), kicked off 2012 and, well, it was pretty much perfect:
The beat is understandably low key, with bass, snare and guitar keeping things steady while the quintet propel the entire production from beginning to end. Boa and Bohyung belt it as well as anyone, and Jihyun, Ji Won and Narae never sound like they’re in over their heads with the chorus. It is a case where the group’s maturity works in their favor, as their mature vocals just sound more refined and polished than the kids they debuted alongside with. SPICA’s reliance on their actual singers, and not gimmicky electronics, carried them through 2012 (though never to the top of the charts), from the excellent R&B throwbacks ‘Russian Roulette’ and ‘Painkiller’, both of which wouldn’t have been out of place on an early Destiny’s Child album, to the positively Spice Girlian ‘I’ll Be There‘ before ending the year with the elegent ‘Lonely’. If there is a uniting thread through SPICA’s year of work, it’s that they are an absolute throwback outfit and heirs to the days of girl bands past, channeling equal parts Spice Girls, Destiny’s Child and even a little TLC. ‘Potently’ was the perfect introduction for SPICA because it showcases their sound, image and style in the best way possible. Released in early January, nothing else came close to making the same positive initial impact for the rest of the year. Let’s hope that they’re around for awhile, if for no other reason than to remind the youngin’s what good R&B chops sound like.
Basically, SPICA HWAITTTTTTIIIIINNNNNNNNGGGGGGG /fangirling
Here’s SPICA singing ‘Potently’ live because, again, they own (watching Boa rock out in her own little world is a treat to behold).