Release Date: Jun 3, 2014
Record label: Run for Cover Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock
When most bands break up, or go through some kind of seismic lineup change as has befallen Tigers Jaw, it’s usually pretty messy. Canceled tour dates, bitter feelings and tarnished legacies rise like so much smoke from the ashes. For fans, there’s a sudden and jarring finality. The discography, as it exists at the time of the announcement, is suddenly all that remains of that group of people making music together.
Tigers Jaw claim to be “equal parts Fleetwood Mac and Brand New”, and what’s surprising is that the claim's true on multiple levels. To a certain extent, Stevie Nicks and Lindsey Buckingham are raging inside of Charmer, the Scranton band’s fourth album—Adam McIlwee, Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh’s harmonies have a glassy, disengaged quality and they’re situated amidst turbulent emotions and turbid guitars. But “equal parts Fleetwood Mac and Brand New” is even more accurate in describing what it was like to be in Tigers Jaw during its recording—like the latter, they're transitioning out of pop-punk and emo into straight-up indie rock, and the entire band was split into Rumours-esque factions while they made the album.
Three 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.
Indie rockers Tigers Jaw abruptly went from a quintet to a duo in 2013 when Adam McIlwee, Dennis Mishko, and Pat Brier left the band, but founding members Ben Walsh and Brianna Collins opted to move forward with the recording of their next album, and persuaded their former bandmates to help them complete the project before moving on for good. It's fitting that Charmer finds Tigers Jaw in a transitional period, moving away from their formal punk and emo influences into a more streamlined sound as Walsh and Collins become the act's dominant creative voices. Musically, Charmer is a more polished and pop-oriented album than most of Tigers Jaw's previous work, but the core of their melodic style has changed little, and the moody urgency of the lyrics is as strong as ever.