Monsta X return with Take.2: We Are Here in an almost dizzying array of new tracks instead of a standard repackage number. The 7-membered K-pop boyband have spent 4 years trying to find their sound with some big hits and misses. Looking a little lost every now and then, Shownu, Wonho, Minhyuk, Kihyun, Hyungwon, Jooheon, and I.M present We are Here as the angstier, more bass and synth driven reply to October’s Take 1: Are You There?

The ten track album opens with ‘INTRO: WE ARE HERE’, but really starts with ‘Alligator’; the title track is certainly reliant on the dramatic but also more cohesively put together over the structure of their last title track, ‘Shoot Out’. If you’re familiar with Monsta X, it’s a track you’ll welcome. It’s not as sleek as ‘Jealousy’, but promises a performance you won’t forget. It’s all fire, drama, and momentum building verses that thankfully lead to a well pulled off chorus by main vocal Kihyun. I’m not quite sure why they’re introducing themselves as alligators but English in K-pop will always remain a unique aspect of the industry. Overall, ‘Alligator’ actually falls into the slightly too simple side of the scale, with a call-back to a hook-heavy focus of 2010 K-pop. If it wasn’t for the delivery, it would have potentially fallen into the side of boring.

Steve Aoki makes another appearance in the K-pop scene through ‘Play It Cool’. Surprisingly one of the better tracks on the album, the house beat serves as a solid base to an addictive dance track that fits in with the warm evenings during some tropical getaway. I.M’s recognisable tone during the rap break is a bit disruptive towards the end as the track finishes, but it’s a moment I can forgive.

With the opening few seconds acting as Monsta X’s addition to the 2018 Latin pop trend in K-pop, ‘Rodeo’ is an electronic heavy track that again, is a solid dance addition to the album. Monsta X haven’t strayed far from their strengths but the b-tracks are becoming repeatedly similar as the album goes on. It’s focused and entertaining, but sticks to the formulaic qualities of what Monsta X and entertainment agency Starship Entertainment know to work.

The members have certainly found their niche in an oversaturated market and far from going backwards, Monsta X have just maintained what made them so good in the first place. The group are certainly growing though with their moment in the limelight as they were the first K-pop group to perform on the US Jingle Ball tour. Fiery and fun, Take.2: We Are Here is an album that continues to play off Monsta X’s talents but fails to move them into a maturer state.