In addition to two versions of the title track, the single also boasts two more original tracks. It starts with, "Signal Waltz", which opens with chiming keyboards, instantly recalling the sounds of childhood, and on top of a simple waltz rhythm, the track layers in YeonGene's childlike vocals, a melodica, keyboards, and some echoing background chorus to gently ease the listener into the dulcet world of Linus' Blanket.
Of course, with a title like Labor in Vain, Linus' Blanket isn't just pure candy pop, but instead carries a tone of ennui that gives the sweetness of the arrangement and songwriting a bit more weight, the title track referring to the push-pull struggle of loving someone. This is all built upon what seems almost like a samba rhythm, the chiming keyboards and Yeongene's backed vocals from Signal Waltz transforming into words, while the guitar team providing a little texture with some ringing effects. But the weighted, yet sunny composition's internal contrast serves it well and the result is winning.
Finally, the last unique track is "Walk" which accordingly begins at a nice jaunt, the band singing "ba-da-ba-bams" in an instantly inviting manner--you want to sing along. The single verse easily preparing for the chorus which lovingly floats up into the sky alongside the freeing lyrics. It's a lovely, if brief tune, lasting only eighty two seconds.
The single closes with a more acoustic reprise of "Labor in Vain", an acoustic guitar bouncing along as the vocal arrangement of "shoo-be-doo-bops" helps give the song a bit of swing. It's an enchanting variation of the title track, but it highlights the fact that while the production and the performances have largely become much tighter on the single, YeonGene's vocals still seem just a touch shy, wavering on her notes. Her vocals have noticeably become stronger on these tracks, so she's clearly becoming more confident in her singing, but that might be the only element of the single that stumbles at all.
Granted, Yeongene fares excellently in terms of songwriting alongside her co-writer, MinSung, so the single is still a winner and certainly has enough sweetness and sunshine that it leaves you wanting more, yearning for the day that the group might release an album. But with two very complementary tracks alongside two equally enjoyable versions of the title single, Labor in Vain is certainly a single that fans of early Linus' Blanket will want to put ear to. 8/10
- Signal Waltz
- Labor in Vain
- Labor in Vain (reprise)