The EP starts off with the 80s pop-inspired “Michigan Again.” It features a chorus that is easy to dance to and lead vocalist Joe Padilla’s distinct voice that makes it easy to sing along to. The bridge slows it down and gives a moment of reflection that leads into a fantastic guitar solo by guitarist Ryan Lammers. Overall, this first song holds the introduction of the EP very well and hooks you into the other three tracks.
The second track, “12AM,” was previously released and is what gave August Hotel the most press, so the inclusion of it on Charms just makes sense. After the first track, it gives listeners the chance to vibe along with the band, and the infectious simplicity of it just forces you to bob your head along to the beat. The chorus has a lovely build that would be great for a night of cruising around the city. August Hotel adds a bit of flair to this track as well with the inclusion of horns. As someone who is always a sucker for a horn section in indie music, this just added to the song as a whole. Lammers comes back again for another amazing solo in the second half of the song, and after a few repetitions of the chorus, the song fades out to lead listeners into the third track.
Photos by Kailah (K.P.) Peters
“Can I Be in Love With You?” starts very low, which is a fantastic transition from the second track, but quickly hypes back up and brings back the 80s-reminiscent vocals. Although they can sometimes be misused, they fit very well with August Hotel’s overall synth pop sound. This track has the best keyboards out of the whole EP and showcases the band’s versatility. The second half of the track gets a bit grungier, so those that prefer a more punk sound could really enjoy it. Of course, a lovely guitar solo once again highlights Lammers’ talent. This track has a very 2009 Franz Ferdinand feel, so if “No You Girls” was your jam, “Can I Be in Love With You?” will fit right in to your listening repertoire.
The EP finishes off with another highly danceable track entitled “Crystallized.” This track is heavy in keyboards, and keyboardist Craig Schwartz does not disappoint. Lammers finishes off with one last beautiful solo, and drummer Dean Sinclair holds his own throughout as well. Out of the whole EP, this track just begs to be sung along to and could easily be another hit for the rising group.
Overall, Charms does a great job of showcasing each member’s individual strengths and talents and could really launch the quintet into fame. With their synth-heavy dance beats and catchy choruses but overall chill vibe, I would highly recommend August Hotel to fans of bands such as VHS Collection, Vinyl Theater, or the 1975.