Words by Ryan Kappy

The emo genre never really died nor has been revived. From the mid-90’s, with bands like the Promise Ring and Sunny Day Real Estate, to the mid-2010’s, with the likes of Balance & Composure and Tigers Jaw, the genre has been thriving. Defined with how bands approach and like to represent themselves with the ongoing movement is the true test to stand out. For Michigan’s Charmer, they sure have shown a possible new branch in the genre with their new album, Ivy.

Following their lo-fi self-titled album that was released in 2018, the quartet does not waste any time in solidifying their sound with a more crunchier, pop-punk style of songwriting. With songs like “Doom” and “Wither,” the band has followed in the footsteps of Tiny Moving Parts in that they take their guitar playing ability with finger picking melodies that are staple in the new wave emo revival sound. The more simplistic chord structures that are reminiscent of Tigers Jaw are showcased in “Slumber” and “Dead Plants”, where it is not how technical the music, but how the different progressions help paint the different stories that are to be told.

Lyrically, the band attests on love and life and how they can deal with the different repercussions that may be associated. In “Slumber,” vocalist David Daignault says, “I’ve been thinking about grad school/Maybe I should talk to you/Drowning in your heated pool/Somewhere between death and missing you”. Daignault even dives into the dark depths with stating, “Count your days with razor blades/Stuck inside your sun-bleached haze/Jaded red all over again/Sorrow bled straight through/Why’d you let me in?”, in the climatic and deep track “VCR 666”.

Overall, the album is a solid reminder that the emo genre will surely never die, with Charmer grabbing the torch that has been bestowed before them and laying the ground work for future outfits to follow their suit.

© April 3, 2020

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