New Album from CHRMR Is Confidently Their Own

When does a band stop being up and coming? When they get signed, when they headline a tour, when they become famous. That’s certainly part of “making it” in the music industry. I would suggest though, that a band stops being up and coming when they understand themselves as artists. That to go from promise to realization happens when you know who you are creatively. CHRMR might still be up and coming in industry terms, but they’re fully established artistically.

CHRMR’s second full length album, Low in the Glow, is hardcore rock that understands where it comes from and where it would like to go. Up and coming artists often only understand one of the two. They’re either so eager to shatter conventions they misunderstand the fundamentals of their genre or they’re ideas are so indebted to their inspirations they fail to deliver originality. CHRMR uses both the dark, occult conventions of doom rock and their own original songwriting to create an LP that elevates the band from aspiring musicians to creative thinkers.

On the classic rock guitar led, Rites, CHRMR offers the tropes of devilry and mysticism associated with doom rock. “The priestess calls the demon/ and the shaman does the dance,” they sing about some dark ritual. It’s not real, though. It’s a fantasy, just some wish fulfilment for fans of the genre. Like rappers with money, or singer songwriters with breakups we rarely interrogate ourselves about why they’re present in our music or even care that they are, but we expect them, which means they have value. To run away from these ideas doesn’t “bust” the genre, it mischaracterizes it.

By incorporating staples of the genre into their album CHRMR allows itself to push up against them as their own voice shines through their songwriting. On the album’s closing track “Grain Ark”, a young boy comes to terms with the solitude of growing up, he’s referred to as a “golden foal”. A deeply poetic line that evokes something fragile but precious, a precocious foal who may become a towering stallion. Its tenderness would be out of place were it not so confidently woven into the rapid guitar riffs and cacophonous energy of the drums on Grain Ark.

Throughout Low in the Glow CHRMR’s artistic intention keep the album cohesive, propelling the listener from one track to the next. It establishes the band as artistically mature because they don’t ask themselves if a certain lyric, or down tempo rhythm might work, they know it will. And when people use the cliché “find your sound” that’s what they mean.

Comments are closed.