Review Summary: Your 2015 Indie Rock MVPs return with another immersive release.
Fort Collins, Colorado-based indie rockers Gleemer unexpectedly brought some of the genre’s best releases in 2015 - the terrific No Goodbyes EP and Moving Away. Anymore continues in much the same vein as those breakthrough releases, blending jangly 80s college rock, shoegaze, dream pop, and midwest emo into a molten alloy elegantly fashioned by meticulous songwriting.
The first thing that stands out about Gleemer is how they achieve this goal with greater success than virtually any other band with similar ambitions, such as Turnover or Title Fight, and end up with quite a different sound, even though it's easy to see common links between them. Band leader Corey Coffman got any indulgent impulses out of his system by the end 2014, and Gleemer’s music feels much more grounded than similar bands that seem more in love with the idea of reverb and chorus pedals than solid songwriting. Instead of following the typical route of dream pop, Gleemer draws on more obscure influences like Hum and Catherine Wheel, and it shows in a less-predictable sound that has clear breaks from genre cliches associated with other dream pop/emo mashups.
Coffman’s approach is exemplified on tracks like the standout “Pressure.” Guided by the warm guitar melody, the track organically builds up to an explosive, emotive climax - all the more impressive considering how the track, like many on the album runs less than four minutes. “Pressure”’s autumnal shimmer is bolstered by its warm production, a crucial element of Gleemer’s sound (along with some of the best guitar tones from any indie rock band in years.) Coffman’s experience as a recording engineer prior to starting Gleemer really pays off, as it lends the music a more subtle sense of atmosphere than the more ubiquitous Will Yip school of production.
If there’s any aspect where Anymore seems to fall a bit short of its predecessor, it’s probably how Moving Away had the most variety of mood and tempo of any Gleemer release thus far. Anymore doesn’t have anything quite as heavy as “Lily” or as upbeat as “Heater,” but it makes up for it in the dynamics of individual songs, such as on the aforementioned “Pressure” and “Light Out."
Speaking of “Light Out,” it might be the album’s best track, occupying a similar space to Moving Away’s “Champ.” Wistful and emotive, it’s driven by jangling guitar lines and sudden, calculated bursts of fuzz. “Dryness” works for similar reasons, its searing distortion constituting the best aggressive moment of the album.
Despite the musical similarity to Gleemer’s last two releases, the band does an admirable job of not repeating or ripping themselves off, even if some melodies are a bit reminiscent of earlier songs. “Not Around” starts off sounding like it could be a rehash of Moving Away’s “Cool Back,” before twangy, earthen guitar melodies bring out the rustic landscape of Gleemer’s musical topography (making them a band deserving of your attention if you like similarly rustic-sounding indie rock in the vein of Bloodthirsty Butchers, The Hotelier, or Sinai Vessel.)
With so many down-tempo moments Gleemer is bound to occasionally rhyme - “Gush”’s melodies are at times pretty reminiscent of “Light Out," for example, until the former song submerges itself in a wash of guitar fuzz. And in the middle of the album, “Cooler Pt. 2” reprises the only underwhelming track from 2015’s No Goodbyes, but reinvigorates the song with fully instrumentation than the original; even though it’s one of Anymore’s lesser tracks, it’s still a pretty great song. But these are minor nitpicks in the wake of mostly great songs - like the effective pairing of "Sooth Me" and "Come Down," or "Porcelain"'s languid nostalgia, to name a few we've overlooked.
It’s hard to say if Anymore is Gleemer’s best release so far. It’s in much the same vein as the previous two, but there’s definitely a sense of refinement to the band’s songwriting that shows their conceptual and compositional growth, and the way Gleemer’s intimate, high-context lyricism creates an immersive and coherent experience with the album. Gleemer's lyrics are certainly worth noting: as on previous albums, they're incredibly evocative, filled with emotion yet oblique enough to evade virtually every eye-rolling emo cliche. This sort of situational impressionism is really refreshing, and appreciated in a socio-culturally exhausting year where it's nice to get away from current events for a bit.
Anymore isn't perfect, but it's easily one of the best indie rock and emo releases of 2017, and manages to achieve the rare (for today) feat of inspiring the listening to trust the band to keep putting out music of similarly consistent quality. With a little luck, Gleemer's best days lie ahead of them. But anyone hearing them for the first time, Anymore is a great entry point and an invigorating release in a genre in need of fresh talent, sure to please new and old indie rock fans in equal measure.