Tigers Jaws is a band from Scranton, PA., that has gathered much attention in the past few years. With three LPs and a handful of smaller releases, it’s clear that Tigers Jaw has been a hardworking band with great success. The majority of people thought the band broke up at the end of 2013, but it is still active. Brianna Collins and Ben Walsh are currently the only two members, but this hasn’t stopped them from playing shows. Charmer is an awesome album that still holds the genuine and unique sound that Tigers Jaw has always had and – luckily – the full band is on this album, so we get to hear Adam McIlwee’s vocals as well.
“Cool” begins the album, and I think it’s a great song to start off with. It’s energetic and fun, and it showcases McIlwee and Collins singing right off the bat. This song is the perfect length and straight to the point, as well as one of the best songs on the album. “Frame You” continues the energy and is a fun, bouncy song with Walsh on vocals. The keyboard throughout is a perfect touch, making this another great song. “Hum” slows thing down a bit while showcasing the slower Tigers Jaw sound that they so efficiently pull off. The chorus is catchy and it is also one of my favourites.
We have the title track next, and “Charmer” is something different. The bass intro is somewhat mysterious, but then the song evens out when all the other instruments come in. McIlwee sings this song, and I think he’s a great fit, and Collins does backing vocals which makes this song even better. The guitar leads are effective and this song goes from quiet to full of energy. “Nervous Kids” is another great song – with a relatable message. Walsh sings out “We’re just nervous kids / We’re just over it.” I think everyone feels nervous as a kid, and they want to get over the nervousness – whether they actually do or not. The guitar leads are great and this song is a nice blend of practically everything Tigers Jaw has to offer.
“I Envy Your Apathy” is straight-up awesome. I don’t know who sings this song, but I love it. It has a relaxing feel to it and it has to be another favourite of mine. It somewhat reminds me of a Mumford and Sons song, except it’s really good. Give this song some extra listens and I hope you’ll enjoy it as much as me. “Slow Divide” is another relaxing song, which seems to be a theme for this album. It’s slow and peaceful throughout; honestly, I think it’s beautiful. Walsh and Collins make a dynamic duo for vocals on this song. “Slow Come On” breaks us away from the continuation of slower songs and gives us some more energy. This song is my least favourite; it’s just not my thing. The vocals do sound great, but I can’t get into it the song too much.
“Teen Rocket” is my absolute favourite song on this album. The intro is simply beautiful, and the song is relaxing and perfect throughout. Walsh and Collins make another perfect combo for this song. The lyrics “Can’t fix your life; can’t handle mine” are some that I think many people can relate to, as well as “Locked up with my thoughts in my head again.” This song is definitely sad but amazing. “Softspoken” is an okay song, but it’s nothing special to me. I don’t think a re-recording of “Distress Signal” was really needed, as there’s virtually nothing different from the other recording. It’s a wonderful, catchy song, but I’d rather the band didn’t re-record it. “What Would You Do” isn’t the best. It’s slow and over five minutes long, and it doesn’t hold my attention; I think it’s boring. I wish this album finished off on a better note, but it is what it is.
Tigers Jaw’s Charmer has several amazing songs, some decent songs and a few songs I don’t really care for. I wish “Fake Death” and “Carry You Over” were featured on this record because I think those songs are much better than most on here. I will say I’m slightly disappointed with Charmer, but I shouldn’t let that stop me from enjoying the amazing songs that Tigers Jaw has to offer me. This record sounds fantastic (thank you, Will Yip) and will probably be in my top 10 records of the year. If you are looking for a noteworthy indie/emo release of 2014, this may be the album for you.