PATiENTS (페이션츠) – “18” Korean Punk Album Review

Describing themselves as “hybrid punk”, Patients are a guitarless Korean punk trio featuring drums, bass guitar, and a whole donkey cart of piano providing the catchy hooks. Patients have been around for a bit as a band but are one of the many Korean indie rock bands now enjoying international success with European tours and exposure. After listening to this slick and refreshing album I can see that all the attention is justified.

“18” kicks off with Let’s Drive, Let’s Go! a catchy rock n roll tune featuring upbeat melodies and cheerleader backups on the chorus from most likely cute Korean girls. They sound cute anyways! Right away you get a very Elvis Costello, maybe even early Elton John vibe thanks to the hard working piano. Bad Fingers switches to an organ sound and reminded me automatically of ? and the Mysterians with its dancing organ and driving rhythm section of bass(a Rickenbacker!!!!<3) and drums.

If you love catchy, fun and fast power pop with blitzing keys and sing-a-long hooks then I recommend Patients.
The single for the album, as seen in Singles Mingle, is 18세기 (My Korean sucks but I think this is “18th Century”?and we get a faster power pop tune with punk influences reminiscent of the late 70’s power pop movement seen in England. The album features tight production, catchy hooks, and simple but sharp musicianship. You can also hear them go through a gauntlet of various punk and punk subgenre influences. Idiot vs Psycho shows off a DEVO/new wave side with electronic influences creeping in while High Darling is basically The Ramones if Johnny bought a keyboard instead of a guitar. Which is pretty f%*king cool.

Patients are one of those bands that can pull you out of the worst moods and add a bit of spring in your step. To me however I don’t think they are “hybrid punk”, whatever that means, but these dudes are straight up classic power pop with punk influence. I hear some deeper influences in this album and I’m hoping they explore some of that in later albums. I would love to see my psychedelic or new wave influences come out as this album tends to stay on the same plane throughout. If you love catchy, fun and fast power pop with blitzing keys and sing-along hooks then I recommend Patients. For bass players and people that hate electric guitars. For fans of Elvis Costello, The Undertones, Joe Jackson, DEVO, The Ramones, and maybe even The Stranglers if you’re feeling saucy.

Album Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars

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