Review: NCT borrow the romance of the past for new album

This cover image released by SM Entertainment Co., Ltd., Capitol Music Group and Caroline Records shows “Resonance Pt. 1” by NCT. (SM Entertainment Co., Ltd. and Capitol Music Group and Caroline via AP)

NCT, “NCT – The 2nd Album RESONANCE Pt. 1” (SM Entertainment/Capitol/Caroline)

Mega K-pop group NCT are not playing around.

Two years after releasing their debut album, the group featuring 21 members of NCT 127, NCT DREAM and WayV – as well as newcomers SHOTARO and SUNGCHAN – are launching into a sophomore effort with a third project expected later this year.

“NCT – The 2nd Album RESONANCE Pt. 1” skillfully combines a ’90s R&B vibe with a more modern, electronic sound, leaning into the romantic boy band-ness of it all, with piano ballads showcasing the various members’ beautiful voices.

Lead single “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” reels in the unsuspecting fans with its catchy whistle beat, but the rest of the album pulls the rug and revels in its retro-ness with a slew of only slightly modernized raps and R&B bangers; “Volcano,” “Lightbulb” “From Home” and “Faded In My Last Song” lead in this category.

“Misfit” is a classic, energetic rock tune that echoes its title in sound; “Déjà Vu” has a futuristic dance beat; and “Nectar” introduces a compelling if strange, wounded-animal trombone-like sound.

Overall, the hook of “Make A Wish (Birthday Song)” sums up my feelings about the album: “I can do this all day.” But so does the song’s naughtier English version: “I can do this all night.”