Touché Amoré – Is Survived By (Review)

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I’ve been looking forward to this record, probably more than any other this year. ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ has rarely left my record player over the last few weeks in anticipation of ‘Is Survived By’, which is released officially next Monday. Once again Touché Amoré don’t disappoint and their new release will probably see a similar number of spins, because it’s brilliant. Did you really think it wouldn’t be?

If, like me, you’re already a fan of the American quintet then ‘Is Survived By’ will sound very familiar, in a good way. Maybe it’s because of Bolm’s poignant delivery or the intense and dynamic songs but the record doesn’t differ massively from the bands previous work, it’s just better. ‘Is Survived By’ sounds more refined, and it’s clear Touché Amoré have grown as musicians. Sure, the lyrical themes (depression, disappointment, failing to live up to expectations) are still present but the music is much more focused and driven. Take opener ‘Just Exist’ which partly contains a Converge like barrage of noise with Bolm crying ‘I dont know what my legacy will be‘ over the controlled chaos, or the haunting melodic guitars playing behind sixth track ‘Harbor’. It means that ‘Is a Survived By’ is still hard hitting but it’s also more convincing in it’s delivery. The more mellow moments where Bolm shouts over simple guitar melodies and percussion are still affecting, whilst the more energetic moments are still exhilarating. There’s a good mix of both on ‘Social Caterpillar’, one of the records best songs, and also one of the longest.

Jeremy Bolm betters himself both vocally and lyrically on the bands third album and his passionate and intense delivery affects a listener and draws them in. It takes numerous listen to pick apart the songs here in terms of content and meanings. There aren’t many hardcore vocalists who write as well as he does, and ‘Is Survived By’ is a deep insight into his innermost feelings. It’s honest and confessional in the best way, and it’s inspired in its vulnerability. The instrumentals are also deeper and more adventurous, and there’s a range in tempo’s, with more attention paid to structure and crafting songs that are complex and capture emotion, making the listener feel exactly how the band wants them to. Bolm laments and exorcises whilst his bandmates explode musically around him, making every second of ‘Is Survived By’ affecting and emotionally devastating throughout. It’s a definite step up from ‘PTSBBAM’ and it’s hard not to be impressed by the quality here.

By Touché Amoré standards the album is also quite long (30 minutes) which means the songs here are given a chance to expand, often reaching three minutes instead of being one and a half minutes long like on past releases. ‘Is Survived By’ is given room to breathe and as a result the songs here unfold freely, instead of being restricted. The shorter songs like ‘Praise / Love’ tend to be more angsty and emotional, but the longer songs see the band grow and broaden their sound.

‘Is Survived By’ seems like the next logical step in Touché Amoré’s career, and it’s one they’ve pulled off excellently. It keeps everything I’ve grown to love about their music and builds on it, making for an end product that cements them as the best in their genre right now, by some distance.

Rating – 9/10

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