Boston Emo Heroes no hope / no harm Release Swimming In The Charles EP
no hope/no harm is a Boston four piece lead by Aaron Perrino of The Sheila Divine and Dear Leader, and longtime music journalist (a regular contributor to Esquire, Playboy, Vice etc) Luke O’Neil, formerly of The Good North. They’ve just released a new EP entitled Swimming In The Charles, and it is a joy.
The band was borne from the duo’s shared love of emo — Charles Morton, and Adam Hand, of The Field Effect, were brought on board after a singalong at Emo Night Boston, which O’Neil runs. If you listen closely to the below songs, you can probably hear a number of permutations of that broad genre — from twinkling, prettier sad songs, to screaming post-hardcore, and tightly-wound pop-punk show up throughout their material, at turns literary-minded or arch and self-referential, but always meant to break your heart.
Behold, fans of Sunny Day Real Estate, Pianos Become The Teeth, Clarity-era Jimmy Eat World and of course The Smiths, your new gods:
You’ll probably notice that their name isn’t the only thing inspired by the members’ love and admiration for bands like The Smiths; it’s in their DNA, from the artwork to the lyrical approach O’Neil takes in telling a story. And in the same way that Morrissey made songs about Manchester feel like they were taking place in your backyard, no hope / no harm tell their stories of love lost in a Boston landscape that resonates deep for both residents and people who have never even been there.
“There’s a sense of wry humor I try to weave into our otherwise rather melancholy sounding songs,” O’Neil explains. “‘Let’s go swimming in the Charles till we get sick’ might not sound like the most obviously crazy thing to people who don’t live near the Charles, but I love the joke of it. You would most certainly get sick if you went swimming in the Charles, but it’s also a metaphor about submerging yourself in a toxic relationship that has all the trappings of something exciting and fun — swimming! — but the pollutants will get to you.”
And of course there’s an element of political undertones running throughout the EP, but these messages are delivered in a style that leans way more Will Yip than Fat Mike. Songs like Punch A Nazi In The Face are obvious and righteous enough, while This Living Wage tells a metaphoric story about the toll of being crushed by the weight and expectations of capitalism while also being crushed by the weight and expectations of an expiring relationship.
You’re going to come to love these guys.