Jambinai – ONDA

While ONDA is interesting, on their third full-length album Jambinai offer up an ultimately forgettable experience despite its origins

Album Review by Adam Turner-Heffer | 06 Jun 2019
  • Jambinai – ONDA
Album title: ONDA
Artist: Jambinai
Label: Bella Union
Release date: 7 Jun

Seoul, South Korea's Jambinai have made tidal waves in their decade of existence. Formerly a trio, now a quintet, the band caught the attention of Bella Union after winning Korea's Best Crossover Album award in 2013 for their debut Différance. Leading to 2016's Hermitage, the band have returned for their third full-length, ONDA, (which means 'Come' in English) fresh off the incredible honour of performing at The 2018 Winter Olympics closing ceremony in Pyeongchang.

Their brand of post-rock/noise will be familiar to fans of Mogwai, however, Jambinai's use of traditional Korean instruments – such as the haegeum, piri and geomungo – give them a distinctly eastern sound. It works to devastating effect on opening tracks Sawtooth and female-vocal led Square Wave, as they blend metal with more traditional influences. Sun. Tears. Red is reminiscent of Japanese screamo legends Envy, which gives a pleasing, albeit brief, move away from metal and post-rock.

While the album's centre-piece In the Woods has a positive message and warning against global warming and pollution, musically it is far too close to Godspeed You! Black Emperor's East Hastings for comfort. The song reportedly is a reworked version of a track from their debut EP, however, any fan of the genre will surely recognise the similarity, hurting the record in the process. Ultimately, ONDA is an interesting but forgettable experience despite its origins.

Listen to: Sawtooth, Square Wave, Sun. Tears. Red