Touché Amoré – Is Survived By (Deathwish)
Third album from Californian post-hardcore merchants.
Brevity is underrated. Too often an album outstays its welcome, forcing 14 tracks onto you in approaching an hour, blithely ignoring the staggeringly short attention span of the internet generation. Is Survived By, the third album from Californian outfit Touché Amoré, clocks in at just 29 minutes and is all the tighter for it.
The band have plainly missed a marketing meeting or two as “Just Exist”, the lead single from the album, opens proceedings instead of showing up at track two as singles tend to nowadays. It’s a fine start to the record and straight away showcases Jeremy Bohm’s plaintive howl alongside the band’s post-hardcore thrashing. Trail of Dead meets Defeater, gets drunk and loudly laments the point of it all.
Lyrically Touche Amore are as weird and interesting as ever – not for them unrequited love and painful break-ups, here we’re dealing with existentialism and the nature of anger…
“Most people I know I’ve used as camouflage. I’ve circled myself with pretty people to hide who I was. I won’t miss them and they won’t miss me.”
An album’s worth of that type of thing is pretty cathartic, let me tell you.
The album’s anchor is “Harbor”, where the band are let loose a little on one of the longer tracks. On occasion it does feel as though the music is a tad hurried – three of the tracks are under two minutes long – and although the briskness of the album as a whole works it would have been nice to hear one or two of these songs explored in greater depth.
Happily there’s an element of variety here, often missing from hardcore albums that prefer to batter you into dizzy incomprehension before running off with your wallet. “Praise Love” is as stark as they come, vocals and a single guitar. This is followed by “Anyone Anything”, all power and melody, while “Non Fiction” burns slow, vocals almost as backdrop, building up to a powerful conclusion. “DNA” almost sounds like At The Drive-In.
Touché Amoré have come on since previous effort Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me and developed into one of the Deathwish label’s most intriguing acts. Is Survived By is by no means ground-breaking, but it’s well worth a happy half hour of your day.