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Review - Checkmate: 'MAGNOLIA' EP

Have you heard of Checkmate? No? Well, they’re a three-piece emo/alt-rock band from Waldorf, Maryland whose unique vocals and resonant lyrics will draw you in from the start. The group is comprised of Billy Beitz on vocals and guitar, Tony Capuano on bass and backup vocals, and Tanner Campos on lead guitar and “screams.”

MAGNOLIA is the follow-up EP to Checkmate’s self-titled LP, released in August 2019. While the self-titled album features heavier electric guitar and more hard-hitting drum beats, MAGNOLIA is a somewhat more unplugged, emotional soundscape of warbling angst.The EP consists of five tracks, featuring a healthy mix of self-hatred, self-awareness, and self-preservation.

The first track, “HUMAN” dives into the themes of losing yourself, knowing you’re lost, but still not being able to muster the motivation to get back to the person you want to be. As the final lines ring out “I’ll stay here, would you still love me? I’ll be right here. I’ll be yours forever” this particular depressed listener is reminded of the fear associated with knowing your loved ones are watching your stagnancy and the hope that they’ll love you through all of your most seemingly useless moments.

The rest of the EP follows suit, letting us into the mind of someone who seems to be questioning themselves and their worth while simultaneously trying to navigate their feelings and their life and relationships. One line that sticks out to me more than most is “don’t have any goals, I’m just floating through my day” from the track “COLOR BREATHING” as it’s a feeling that so many young people are wrestling with, especially during the emotional and financial burden that is a global pandemic. It’s easy to feel like you’re stuck but when artists whose lives and emotions reflect your own put out digestible and relatable music it can ease the loneliness of navigating the obstacles of mental health.

Rating - 4/5

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