Despite never having met IRL, the Montreal, QC- and Marquette, MI-based quartets Gulfer and Charmer have joined together for a split release, via Topshelf, Royal Mountain, and No Sleep Records. Currently separated by a closed border and the pandemic, the two veteran emo groups have long held mutual admiration for one another, with Charmer first taking notice of Gulfer back in 2015 upon the release of their split with Buffalo's Del Paxton. After both bands released acclaimed albums in 2020, the two became friends over DMs and soon decided to embark on a release together.
Told from the perspective of someone who isn’t sure who or what they can rely on, Gulfer's “Look” explores the meaning of interpersonal trust in the context of our ongoing social and political turmoil. But this narrative doesn’t arrive at specific conclusions on these subjects, mirrored by the song’s abstract and impressionist elements of layered acoustic guitar and textural harmonica. There is nevertheless a compositional certainty about the song, featuring signature Gulfer punches and nimble, noodly guitars that seem to effortlessly glide between the raucous downbeats and unpredictable transitions, proving the band’s proclivity for marrying catchy punkish licks with virtuosic excitement.
Charmer's "Diamond (Sprinkler)" is similarly contemplative, best summarized as a song about a certain kind of existential dread: being stuck in a loop observing everyday life change rapidly while you and your mindset are at a standstill. Though the lyrical concept is anything but uplifting, the rest of the song presents in a high-octane, energetic manner, featuring a triumphant yet almost subdued guitar solo that beckons a special summer. As with Gulfer's side, "Diamond (Sprinkler)" is an exciting follow-up for a band hitting their stride as we inch ever closer to the return of live music.