Touch̩ Amor̩ РParting the Sea Between Brightness and Me

Band – Touché Amoré
Album – Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me
Label – Deathwish Inc
Release date – Out now
Sounds like – Aggravated, severe hardcore throwing itself at you with tearing ferocity and passion.

“When your chasing brightness you lose concern with the damage done.”

What is apparent about Touché Amoré , is that they don’t like to hang around. Clocking in at just under 21 minutes, with a total of 13 tracks, ‘Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me’ is an album you’ll have finished by the time you’ve travelled to work (in some cases you may even be on your second play through). This could lead to the argument of feeling short changed – disagree. The thing about hardcore and more importantly, modern hardcore is the replay value it has along with the necessity for the songs to be kept short – for them to be this snapping, uncompromising bite that lasts for barely a minute and also completely free of repetition or any form of chorus. Plus, anything that lasts over 2 minutes in the hardcore punk world is either – a) trying to hard or b) not hardcore punk (or at least, not the stereotype of the genre).

Touché Amoré knows the score though. Opener ‘~’ (pronounced ‘tilde’) is just under 90 seconds of jagged punk rock. It’s a jarring clatter of guitars and thudding drum beats, which alter between a traditional beat, to an almost thrash metal rattling. Vocalist Jeremy Bolm has a barbed, caustic shout – his words barked through a raw filter of aggression and passion. What makes this stand out from a lot of hardcore is how clear Bolm’s voice is – yes, he’s shouting, but it’s done with such comprehensible gusto and vigor, it adds a new dimension to the hardcore sound. For those familiar with Guy Picciotto’s Rites Of Spring; imagine that voice layered over something that sounds like them playing songs written by Ampere.

“I’m not the golden boy so don’t shine me on/I’m the bastard son of romantic Babylon” roars Bolm, on ‘Art Official’; a track that certainly touches a nerve with its quite intense and bitter longing. In fact, the entire duration of this album is one big angst-ball of intensity. Touché Amoré barely let up; rushing to cram as much of their tight and twisted sound into as fewer minutes as possible, yet the depth of their sound is stretched nicely through these minute and a half long explosions of sound.

There’s a sense of callous alienation with Touché Amoré, especially on ‘Method Act’:  “Have you always wondered why I drive alone? The same reason why I never pick up my phone?” Which on paper, might read a bit tame, but through the Touché Amoré filter and through Bolm’s irrepressible bark – shit man, they tap a nerve. “I understand that I’m fading….I understand that I’m fading away…I’d rather play dead, than play catch up…” there’s a almost resigned, disparaging tone to their sound, which matched against their dense and punk attack is quite a strident experience.

It kind of feels like Touché Amoré is acting as a place where the listener can experience some kind of depressing safe haven. On ‘Sesame’, Bolm invites the listener in to wallow “If you’re looking for a place, to hang your head in shame, the light is always on, so come on in…” ok, this feels like something you can really start to feel miserable about…then they throw in handclaps – fucking handclaps in hardcore. It works though, hey, it’s on a slow bit but the chopping and changing from something that resembles a bear roaring in your face to a puppy staring at you inquisitively is a complete curveball. Speaking of which, ‘Condolences’ changes pace completely, by being a desolate, piano-led piece, with Bolm twisting at hearts, with his scathing bark. It’s actually fairly creepy, but also a mesmerizing and despondent gut-wrench and a surprising highlight on this record.

Another stand out track is ‘Home Away From Here’; a very personal outpouring from Bolm regarding conflicting emotions surrounding staying in one place and settling down, as opposed to being out on the road. “It’s just I have this problem where I want to be everywhere I’m not” he yelps. It should be noted that this is one of several songs that incorporate blast beats, superbly with their dark hardcore attack and yet, still sound so clear and crisp but no less relentless.

The thing about ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ is that it’s got such intensity; such a personal and concentrated attack, coupled with sparse moments of melodic, early emo it can be quite a lot to take in at first. Believe me, it’s a heavy listen, but ultimately it’s a fantastic and rewarding piece of hardcore punk of the future and one of the best albums I’ve heard this year; fans of Give Up The Ghost, Rites of Spring, any early-90s emo band and blast beats apply here right now – you need Touché Amoré and their bitterness in your life.

“If actions speak louder than words, then I’m the most deafening noise you’ve heard.”

Links

Touche Amore
Deathwish Records

 

Lizard Hips

Lizard Hips

Junior Vice President of Keep It Fast. In other news: I work in social media, talk about dinosaurs, run a book club and have amazing facial hair. I am also a male man who is still not dead.

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