Sometimes when choosing to review almost every single ahead of an incoming EP/LP can present a problem down the road when the actual album is ready to drop. For one thing, how does it all fit in? Will those songs only stand out because they’re “the singles”? Or will the release sound disjointed when filled with songs already out to the masses which could potentially swallow up what’s in between those tentpoles? Luckily, when it comes to Boston’s Paper Tigers, though, that whole argument/point is moot as the strength of each and every song on debut release Charmer stands out regardless of if it was released previously. And together, they make for one unstoppable record.
Charmer is the absolute best case scenario when it comes to how any artist should want their debut release to sound. Mixed and mastered by PT guitarist/multi-instrumentalist Bjarki Gudmundsson with recording and engineering handled by Alex Allinson at both Cataclysmic Records and The Bridge Sound, Charmer sounds MASSIVE. The record is big and beautiful, perfectly capturing the band’s live energy into this kind of lightning in a bottle that can only be unleashed by fans pressing “Play” when the album drops soon. Speaking of those fans, if you’ve been a casual fan or any kind of fan at all from the strength of previous releases or live shows (Didja catch that masterful set from In Between Days this year?) then this should be the ultimate collection/representation of what PT is all about.
“Sandcastle” is kind of out of this world and reminds us of White Lies at times and the way they could craft these epic openers (Ritual and Big TV in particular) with Michael Medlock’s voice subtly slinking in and building along with the backing sonics into a frenzied crescendo that culminates in a huge chorus. And that’s just the first track! The title track delivers on all the things that make Paper Tigers truly great with huge, catchy choruses and a vibrant aural atmosphere that has a lifetime subscription to the “go big or go home” mentality with another recent single, “Wedding Cake”, keeping this steady stream of instant modern Alternative Rawk jams coming as Ben “Cutty” Cuthbert’s rambunctious drumming and Matthew Hughes’ bombastic bass playing craft a dynamic foundation not only here, but throughout Charmer.
Cuthbert shines on the intro for “The Drugs Are Kicking In” along with Gudmundsson’s razor sharp riffage reminiscent of some recent Post-Rawk greats with “Prodigal Son” being the first track here to remotely slow down but still filled with an expansive and, dare we say, eargasmic element for an all around excellent listening experience??? “Into That Good Night” is just some solid straight up Rawk from the folks in PT which, in itself, is kind of an outlier but sure to be a fan favorite moment at shows with killer hooks and another bout of Medlock’s biting wit as a lyricist.
“Pariah” begins big then settles into a precious Pop ditty with its’ lush chorus, “Animals” is just astounding with grand grooves from both Cuthbert and Hughes, and “Soft Focus” is a larger than life Rawk-fest with Paper Tigers’ penchant for inserting intricacy into everything making sure that even a seemingly “simple” song is anything but. That inimitable intricacy flows on into closing number “Hymnal” highlighting the strengths of Hughes, Medlock, Cuthbert, and Gudmundsson’s combined musicianship on one last bow before the Charmer curtain closes.
Charmer drops on September 19th and you can get ALL the deets on pre-order and pre-save options now alongside all the socials and everything else located together when you click here.