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Charmer - 'Charmer' Album Review


1. Roy's Our Boy 2. Nurse Joy 3. Floral 4. Death By Red Eye 5. Topanga Lawrence 6. Starship Tina 7. Pretty Over College 8. Split Plate 9. Garden State, Like The Zach Braff Movie

Fall Out Boy’s music video to ‘Sugar, We're Goin Down’ strayed away from beaches, surfing and tattoos. Directed by Matt Lenski, the film portrayed a boy, an outcast with antlers, in love with his neighbour, the girl next door. The location, or geographical setting, looked like Vermont or New Jersey. It was, for me at least, a slap in the face to all those Orange County MTV Pop-Punkers. A statement to all those who thought ‘Punk’ came from the East Coast of California. Indeed California was no longer the ‘source’, and for many this meant going back to Seattle.

The band Charmer come from the city of Marquette in Michigan. This town is only a hundred miles away or so from Nirvana and Grunge territory, and not, too far from Vermont (well, if I am honest, its miles away). What is interesting, is the fact that this record neatly carves shapes out from the aforementioned cultural pastimes.

‘Bummer Summer’ builds up slowly and it climaxes with some gentle guitar chords. The virtuoso complexities hit your ears instantaneously. We are suddenly stuck by (and I certainly hope the band don't mind me saying this) ‘music-school’ level competence. ‘Roy’s Our Boy’ is a little more All American Rejects, more straightforward, with dashes of Minus The Bear and Copeland.

Third song in and we have ’Nurse Joy’; a title, or name, all too familiar to all those born in the late 80’s/early 90s (type in ‘GameBoy’ readers). This track goes one further than the first two indeed, I would go as far as to say that this song really challenges the listener. The tempo breaks down and speeds up, the choral interchange is very fluid and intriguing. The gap between ‘Indie’ and Emo has been filled, indeed, you can be both thanks to this four-piece.

‘Topanga Lawrence’ introduces a strong A Crow Left Of The Murder tight but lose rhythm, super organic and groovy. While the sharp stabby chords snake their way round the fast beat, I am particularly impressed by how well the ‘Mike Einziger guitar’ fits nicely over typical Post-Hardcore power dives and breakdowns.

Such wonderful tunes are complimented by the last track, ‘Garden State, Like A Zack Braff Movie’. This is a song that at first feels like a track taken from Blink 182 actually morphs into something more in tune with that of Taking Back Sunday’s Tidal Wave. Often closers like this ‘suggest’ where the band might be heading. One wonders what they will do next.

Review - Lewis McWilliam

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