Album number three is a rather pivotal one in a band’s career; they’ve made their name and moulded their style with their debut, the sophomore is that “difficult second album” test passed, and album number three is when a band can truly being taking their stride with their career. ‘Is Survived By’ is just that for Touché Amoré, though the blueprint they’ve made hasn’t changed at all, the band have now become really strong creators of their craft, developing an album which brings much more to the table without sacrificing anything that attracted their fans in the first place.
Where with last album ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’ and debut ‘…To The Beat Of A Dead Horse’ we saw the Californian outfit become the forerunners of “the wave” hardcore groups, done in their case by creating pummelling and intense tracks that had you battered and wondering what had happened in a matter of moments. Now, we see the band moving further away from the more direct punk ethic of before and now beginning to explore their capabilities, where they can take their sound and actually beginning to write songs that sound more like songs.
The catharthic nature in which Jeremy Bolm delivers his lyrical messages is still as strong as ever, for the most part of the record speaking much about leaving a legacy and something to remember him by once his death comes to be. This is expressed in full circle with bookend tracks, ‘Just Exist’ and the album’s title-track. The former of the two says this directly, with the line “I’ll just exist / It’s all I can do”, but then we’re brought to the latter with a more uplifting and positive answer to conclude the record, “So write a song that everyone can sing along to / So when you’re gone you can live on, they won’t forget you”. Really thought provoking stuff.
What has really come to light in terms of excelling from previous work, however, is the contributions of guitarists Clayton Stevens and Nick Steinhardt. What we see through ‘Is Survived By’ from these guys is a much further expansion into a bigger variety of guitar tones, steering away from the straight-forward distortion and aggressive found throughout most of the band’s previous work. There’s more of a sense of beauty layered into tracks like ‘Harbour’ and ‘Social Caterpillar’ thanks to this, and ensures that Touché Amoré will be known far more for their portrayed emotional breakdowns as opposed to the standard breakdowns we’re all more than familiar with in the post-hardcore genre.
Ultimately, ‘Is Survived By’ is a step in the right direction for Touché Amoré, maintaining the plataeu already set with their previous efforts, but now expanding it and soaring the heights with it that they were barely aiming for until now. It’ll be interesting to see what will come next.
Written by Zach Redrup
Founder & Editor for DEAD PRESS! | Atheist and antitheist. | Judge of the quick & the dead since 1989.