Album Review: Parannoul – After the Magic

By Ethan Hofer, Staff Writer
[POCLANOS; 2023]
Rating: 8/10

Key tracks: “Polaris”, Parade”, “After the Magic”

Shoegaze, known for its popularity mostly in the European scene, has truly shown how artists and bands internationally interpret the genre. Anonymous South Korean musician Parannoul has set the standard for modern-day shoegaze, especially on their debut record To See the Next Part of the Dream, known for its noisy, maximalist instrumentals. After the Magic follows a similar pattern to great effect.

Read more: Album Review: Obituary – Dying of Everything

The opener, “Polaris,” starts off without the maximalist production that is plastered all over their albums normally. Parannoul begins with an acoustic guitar and then turns back to the noisy instrumentals, layered with multiple chords, similar to the style that my bloody valentine had on their critically acclaimed album Loveless. The next track “Insomnia,” is a little more heartfelt, bringing in elements of piano at the beginning and then progressively beginning to become a little more distorted as the track goes on.

A common theme in this album is its buildups into grand and expansive instrumental passages, which get even better with every single track. “Parade,” for example, starts off very simple, with hints of acoustic guitar, piano, and violins, and as the track progresses, it unfolds into a grimier, noisier type of feel. The seven minute track then breaks into a random ten second interlude with fireworks going off into the background, and then quickly goes back into yet another grimy chord progression in the last two minutes of the track.

The album concludes with a five minute self-titled track. This begins with some delicate synths leading in, as he leans toward a more experimental electronic instrumentation. While most of the tracks on this record fall into a nosier aesthetic, this one does not, and sticks to a more ethereal vibe with the same synths shining their way throughout the entire track, making for a meaningful closer.

In short, this album really does stand out creatively from other modern shoegaze records. It has its own aesthetic that helps add to the diversity of the genre. After the Magic truly has its own vibe that matches the wintery, frigid album cover on songs like “Insomnia.” Parannoul has shown his consistency time and time again, and we hope to see the same on his next project, whenever that may be.

Listen here:

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