Album Review: Touché Amoré – Is Survived By…


Three albums down the line, everybody knows what Touché Amoré are all about, right? The intense screamo band with the short songs and almost uncomfortably confessional lyrics? Well, on ‘Is Survived By…’, they’re not going to confound any expectations – they still write laconic, terse songs, and the insight into vocalist and songwriter Jeremy Bolm’s innermost thoughts is just as intimate and visceral, perhaps more so. The bar has been set extremely high by the first two efforts, but does ‘Is Survived By…’ meet the heady standards the Californians have asserted themselves? As long as you’re not expecting a creative revolution in camp Touché, this more than holds its own in the company of their strongest work.

From the opener ‘Just Exist’, the lyrical themes of this record become clear; Bolm is still stuck in existential turmoil, and his evocative words exposing a raw, naked emotion laid bare still retain the harrowing effect they had on previous work. There are pros and cons to TA’s approach – the brevity of the songs and their acute nature brings a claustrophobic effect, which is gripping and undoubtedly effective, but if allowed more space to breathe and create a sense of atmosphere for more than just brief moments, could propel the band to previously unobtainable heights. However, the quintet have become extremely proficient at what they do, which is creating a barely-contained chaos with snapshots of grace and beauty – these are songs that sound at their most natural in the live arena, and the record conveys this extremely well.

This is an album you’ll have to spend a little time with – it doesn’t have the same instantaneous effect as ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’, but over its discourse, moments will burrow into your consciousness and convince you of this album’s quality. Moments like the extraordinary ‘DNA’ or the incendiary ‘Kerosene’ (no pun intended) espouse the trademark Touché Amoré ferocity, but it’s tracks like the one that lies between the aforementioned, ‘Harbor’ that need to be spent the most time with – tracks that showcase the strength Touché have as songwriters, and how accomplished a frontman Bolm has become. Each listen of this record will throw up different highlights, moments that will reflect different moods, situations and experiences the listener is going through. The album’s crowning glory is probably its penultimate track ‘Steps’, which (unfortunately) is not a tribute to the boot scootin’ popstars, but a song where all of Touché Amoré’s most formidable attributes coalesce to create a miniature epic – one which is extinguished before it can reach its true potential, reflecting the band’s greatest strengths and weaknesses in one track. However, the quality level is so consistent across the board, the listener will develop their own personal favourites; barely a nanosecond of its 30 minute span goes to waste, meaning something that might flash by in the blink of an eye on the first listen will engage and engross you the second or third time around.

This is no longer just the band that channels luminaries such as Saetia and early Thursday – Touché Amoré have taken cues from their line of influence and drawn their own blueprint, and while the progression from earlier material is more subtle than one might have hoped, Touché put forth a powerful statement toward their continued prevalence at the vanguard of emotive hardcore. It’s rare to see bands of their ilk even make it to album number three, let alone be as hotly anticipated as ‘Is Survived By…’, and this album will assure they go from strength to strength. They may stand out slightly from the traditional stylistic tendencies of the Deathwish label, but certainly do nothing to bring down the quality level of their stunning roster.


‘Is Survived By…’ by Touché Amoré is out on the 23rd September on Deathwish Inc.

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Words by Ollie Connors (@olliexcore)


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