[MHN] Following their award-winning first year on the K-pop scene, boy band Stray Kids dropped a new album, "Cle 1 : MIROH," on Monday, fronted by the riotous EDM number "MIROH."
3RACHA, a production trio that consists of three band members -- Bang Chan, Changbin and Han -- produced the title track "MIROH," or "maze" in English, a dynamic, ear-splitting EDM song that mirrors Stray Kids' ambitious venture into "a rough jungle-like maze," according to JYP Entertainment, the band's management agency.
The music is also a reminder of the band's aggressive efforts to expand its frontiers, one full year after its debut on the K-pop scene.
"With this 'Cle 1 : MIROH' album, we want to express a new start ... We want to earn clear recognition as a team that draws high expectations from the public," team leader Bang Chan said in a press showcase for the new album. "Cle" in the album title means "key" in French.
As the song delves into images of the jungle and city, sounds specific to the two very different locations, such as sirens and vehicle sounds as well as hawk and tiger noises, were mixed into the song, giving it a riotous feeling.
"MIROH" is also paired with a rebellious dance performance that took inspiration from the haka, a traditional warrior dance ceremony in Maori culture, characterized by vigorous movements and stamping of the feet.
"'MIROH' is a song that has new sounds, but the dance performance of it has as much energy as the song itself," member Hyunjin said.
The haka movements were applied to the performance "because we wanted to let many people know about our confidence and ambition as we step into a new territory."
The music video of "MIROH" was released on YouTube ahead of the album's official release Monday evening, garnering more than 4 million views within the first 17 hours of its release.
The release comes exactly one year after the nine-member group's debut in 2018.
Stray Kids, formed through an idol survival show, were officially launched on March 25 last year with their debut EP "I Am Not."
The band released two more albums, "I Am Who" and "I Am You," in an "I Am" album trilogy that won them eight rookie of the year awards at local annual music awards, including the 2018 Mnet Asian Music Awards and the 29th Seoul Music Awards.
"It still feels marvelous even one year since the debut," Hyunjin said after being asked what differences the members experienced before and after their debut.
"First of all, the quality of the songs 3RACHA writes have gone up ... and we began to learn joyful interaction with STAY during our overseas tours," he said, referring to the name of the band's fandom.
Including the title track, the album carries a total of eight tracks, most notably "Victory Song" and "19."
The members are undecided yet about whether more serial albums will be released under the "Cle" theme.
"We delved into the struggles that young people our age experience in our 'I Am' album series. What we will explore in 'Cle' is the troubles and the growth story of people who are in the stage of coming of age," member Woojin noted.
The album release came amid the band's showcase tour of global cities. After touring Thailand, Indonesia and Australia in January and February, the band will tour the Philippines in April before throwing four concerts in five American cities in May.
"We cannot clearly define the color of Stray Kids yet," member Changbin said. "In words, it may be something like positivity, ambition and high energy."
"As we are only one year old, we have an unlimited pool of things to show," member Han said.