Published May 30, 2014Three members of scrappy Scranton, PA slacker-punks Tigers Jaw departed the band in early 2013, casting doubt over the band's future. In an almost defiant statement, Charmer, the band's fourth full-length, is a remarkably self-assured and cohesive listen.
The three departed band members (guitarist/vocalist Adam McIlwee, bassist Dennis Mishko and drummer Pat Brier) reportedly helped the remaining members (Keyboardist/vocalist Brianna Collins and guitarist/vocalist Ben Walsh) complete Charmer before their departure, and the 12-track effort comes together rather seamlessly. "I Envy Your Apathy," a fuzzy, catchy track, holds up the mid-section of the 38-minute record and transcends the fuzz with a hopeful, stretching vibe. The rolling title track features another patient build. Tigers Jaw could be accused of meandering a little too much on Charmer, most notably on the drawn-out "Slow Divide," but more often than not, the final knock-out punch is delivered with a nod to 90's rock; swaying and cinematic climaxes are all the rage on Charmer.
Collins' understated pipes shine on the rainy day stomp of "Hum." It's a crime Collins doesn't get more of a crack throughout the record, especially since guitarist/vocalist Ben Walsh doesn't sing with anything resembling conviction.
Charmer isn't exactly dripping with palpable emotion, but there's something to be said for keeping one's cool and continuing on after 60% of band members departed. There's casual grace in the band's winding and ultimately engrossing vibe and most of the earworms on the record stick like glue. (Run For Cover)