Premiere: Charm Offensive Contend With Destructive Love On Debut Single, “On Your Way”

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“Love is a fire. But whether it is going to warm your hearth or burn down your house, you can never tell.” Famously stated by silver screen legend Joan Crawford in a 1954 interview, this quote perfectly encapsulates the hidden duality of love. In essence, while love has the power to inspire and uplift us, it also has the potential to reveal our darkest impulses and vulnerabilities. What begins as euphoria and bliss can swiftly transform into anguish and spite, often unleashed outwardly with the same fervor as our initial passion. During such moments, we may find ourselves unrecognizable, ensnared by our own distorted desires and whims. With each passing outburst or neglect, these transient glitches in our character can evolve into defining features, influencing our actions and perceptions in real-time. Turns out, Ian Curtis was right all along: love will tear us apart.

Understanding this corruption isn’t easy. Rectifying even harder. But the journey to emotional restoration begins with just an admission, a concept local band Charm Offensive aptly embodies in their debut single, “On Your Way.” With a compelling blend of brooding chaos and enchanted joy, the song delves into the tense, delicate balance of love’s influence over us and its potential to swiftly spiral out of control, despite our best intentions. Through this ingenious mix of lyrical vulnerability and musical finessee, Charm Offensive establish themselves as one of the more intriguing local bands on the rise, a group that fully embraces the blurry stylistic style of Richmond’s scene with resourceful acumen. Scheduled for release on Friday, March 22nd, this song serves as an enticing preview of what’s to come from the group’s forthcoming debut EP, Misery. Today, The Auricular is thrilled to present the debut single from Charm Offensive, offering an exclusive stream below alongside background into the sharp band and insight into the thrilling sound.


Right from the start, “On Your Way” unfurls its narrative with stirring lyrical admissions set to a dreamscape of lavish synths and patient guitars, painting a pictured of a flawed yet redeemable character (“I’ve been unfair/ Unkind/ Never untrue/ Except for my mind”). But as the focus shifts from introspection to outward observation, a sudden change in tone occurs. The tranquil dreamscape is pierced by roaring guitars, unearthing the underlying dread with a mix of envy and affection (“You’ve been the same\ Always so tired\ I’ll take the blame\ Step in the fire”). Thus begins a pendulum swing between discord and concord, rapture and fracture, culminating in a profound revelation of the complexities of intimacy (“At least we know\ Falling in love is worth anything\ At all”).

As the vocals progress from anguish to enlightened acceptance, they come to terms with their role in the relationship’s demise while acknowledging that it takes two to tangle, with recklessness abounding on both sides (“It doesn’t matter\ All the semantics\ Are justification \ For my actions”). The music swells with intensity, punctuated by brief respites that offer little solace from the turmoil. Vulnerability gives way to a candid admission, creating space for compromise amidst love’s tumultuous terrain. Yet, as the second chorus draws to a close, the dreamscape transforms from hopeful optimism to a stark acknowledgment of defeat. Snare hits crack, bass notes reverberate, and vocals capture the raw anguish of rejection in real-time (“You just can’t stay/ You just can’t stay anymore/ You’re on your way/ You’re on your way out the door”). Gone are the pauses between ecstasy and chaos as guitars echo into the abyss, reshaping the melodic landscape into an unfamiliar realm for the singer to navigate through loss.


Photo credit: Will Weaver

“On Your Way” exhibits a vibrant blend of creativity, employing subtle nuances and bold arrangements reminiscent of the shadowy shoegaze sound epitomized by bands like My Bloody Valentine, while also channeling the dynamic interplay of loud and quiet popularized by influential alternative act Pixies. It’s an astonishing display of the band’s self-described “garage dream grunge” that has been steadily gaining traction within the local music scene over the past few years and reaches its full fruition in this latest single.

The journey for Charm Offensive began in September 2021 when Maddi Schmidt (vocals, guitar, keys) and Evan Hoffman (guitar, keys) first envisioned this new band. By the end of the year, Brian Grandinetti (bass, synth, keys) and Joel Hollister (drums, keys) had joined forces, contributing their expertise to the creation of the band’s expansive rock sound. All that was left was a name for this new project, one Maddi Schmidt stumbled upon via the 37th season of Survivor, sub-titled David vs. Goliath, when Christian Hubicki uttered the phrase in a conniving interview.

Since their formation, the band has refined that bold sound through captivating live performances at intimate house shows and popular venues across Richmond. Drawing from their wealth of experience, they embarked on recording their debut EP at Go West Recordings in the spring of 2023, with owner Mitch Clem serving as engineer and mixer. Following mastering by Dan Millice, Misery was born–a five-track homage to the emotional journey captured so vividly in “On Your Way.” May 11th can’t come soon enough for us here at The Auricular, but in the meantime, we’ll take solace in uncovering the remaining subtleties within the distressed beauty of this new single. Consider this an invitation to dive in and pull out your conclusions. Perhaps it will help you mitigate the destructive tendencies of love yourself, transforming it into a source of inspiration and delight, as we all aspire for it to be.

“On Your Way” is set for release on Friday, March 22nd and you can pre-save today by clicking here. On May 11th, Charm Offensive will release their debut five-song EP Misery and on the same day, the band hits Gallery5 for their record release show alongside George and Rougshod. For more information on that show, click here or view the show flyer below.


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