Bolbbalgan Puberty’s 2016 release, Galaxy, is a vertical slice of everything that I like in Korean indie: soothing vocals, acoustic instrumentals, and a general happy-go-lucky vibe, all wrapped up in colorful, springtime-esque visuals.
Galaxy’s Korean title actually translates closer to I’ll Give You The Galaxy, but considering we just had a whole discussion about loss of nuance in Korean-to-English translations, I’ll give this one a pass.
Bolbbalgan Puberty (also sometimes known as Bolbbalgan4 in foreign markets) is another one of those bands that gained fame through a television audition program—in this case, Superstar K, one of Korea’s earliest successful audition shows.
Their name can be a bit of a tongue twister in its Romanized form. Bolbbalgan is a portmanteau of two separate words: bol, meaning cheek, and bbalgan, which means red. Put together, this duo’s name can be translated as “red-cheeked puberty”, and is a nod to the popular, idealized image of schoolchildren with red cheeks, ponytails and freckles so prevalent in Korean media.
Living up to their name, Bolbbalgan Puberty has continued to put out youthful, energetic music since their ascension to fame. Their latest release from a few days ago, Bom (spring), falls neatly into this spectrum: