Album: Precocious Neophyte – Home in the Desert (2023)

Precocious Neophyte is the shoegaze/dreampop project of South Korean singer-songwriter Jeehye Ham. After gaining recognition both in the Korean indie scene and abroad as vocalist/guitarist of Vidulgi OoyoO (shoegaze/post-rock) and guitarist of JuckJuck Grunzie (noise/psychedelic), Ham relocated to Chicago where she began experimenting with home recording. In 2019, she released an EP comprised of intimate acoustic compositions under the name Sophysoon. With Home in the Desert, Ham embraces the solitary action and lo-fi aesthetics of home recording to create a fuzzier, more expansive sound, inspired by the organized noise of bands she grew up with in Korea’s indie scene.

Home in the Desert, written and recorded in her apartment between 2021-2022, developed out of Ham’s attempts to envision how skeletal guitar lines might sound when performed live at ear-splitting volumes by a full band. “I never expected that I would make loud music again, but one day I took my guitar out and started jamming on my own.“ As its title suggests, Precocious Neophyte’s debut release negotiates the impossible longings for perpetual spaces and times of home. In doing so, Ham fills unstable distances with what KEXP calls “ethereal vocals and soaring melodies,” and cradles the insecurities of isolation in overdrive warmth and many layers of distorted guitars. In the summer of 2022, Ham began rehearsals with drummer Daniel Lyons, guitarist Brenden Romanowski, and bassist Ethan Waddell. The band has been performing in Chicago since November of the same year.

I have seen this album in my Bandcamp fan mailbox and I liked it, but it also came to my submissions, so I had to write about it. I have been digging their shoegaze sound with a little bit more experimental approach.

The album is released on cassettes and vinyl records through Georgia-based label Graveface Records & Curiosities.

Here is also a video for the single My Electronic Idol:

The album definitely requires proper listening time, so if you are planning to listen to it while doing some other activity when you cannot focus, I recommend you set some time aside and get into the shoegaze waves a little bit more. Every song has its special characteristics and together they make a colorful shoegaze palette. I am really enjoying the vocals, which are nicely adding sparkles to the songs.

Overall, the album was a joyful listening ride and if you are into exploring a little bit different version of shoegaze, this is a perfect choice.

You can follow the band on: