ALBUM REVIEW: Touché Amoré – Lament

Release Date: October 9th 2020
Label: Epitaph Records


It’s been four long years of self-betterment for Touché Amoré frontman, Jeremy Bolm. 2016’s seminal ‘Stage Four’ was an auto-biographical concept album, explicitly detailing the loss of his mother to cancer. It was also the band’s most successful record to date, and first on new label home, Epitaph.

‘Lament’ can’t help to shake the fact that it’s the successor to a work steeped in such sadness and raw emotion. It knows it can’t. That’s where the strength therein lies. Where the frankly devastating ‘Flowers And You’ opened proceedings last time around, ‘Come Heroine’ is an impassioned, triumphant, and near-unhinged testimony of love, appreciation, and adoration for Bolm‘s fiancée, assuring his soon to be wife “When I swore I’d seen everything, I saw you.”

This immediately sets a tone marked by increased positivity, with ‘Reminders’ serving as the first pop-punk single of the band’s career. When you juxtapose the crushing weight of the Julien Baker featuring closer ‘Skyscraper’ from ‘Stage Four’ with the heartfelt rumination on love found here, there are thankful signs that the healing process is underway.

Collaborating with veteran producer Ross Robinson was a remarkably inspired choice. It’s difficult to fathom that little over a decade ago, Touché Amoré were a band that dealt in minute-long excesses of tortured melodic hardcore cum emo-powerviolence revival, while the growing pains of their last two records showcased a group still trying to comfortably transition into “full-length” songs.

Musically, ‘Lament’ is easily their most dynamic, layered work to date. The newly acquired lap-steel guitar skills of Nick Steinhardt shine brightest on what can safely be dubbed the first true country-screamo track, ‘A Broadcast’, an anthemic, rewarding ballad with a chorus big enough to fit Biffy Clyro or The National.

‘Savoring’ serves as a key highlight of how expansive and melodic one can push the forms of emotive hardcore, with dream pop riffage giving away to cataclysmic blast beating. There’s often a sense of total chaos and collapse circling the edges of the material, toeing a precarious line between restrained focus and total cathartic abandon, which in turn echoes Bolm‘s lyrical musings.

‘Lament’ is so rewarding in its endless attempts to reach a higher place of peace, and full awareness of the painstaking emotional torment one must traverse to obtain. Expertly produced, dizzyingly technical yet simultaneously nuanced and restrained, rarely can conflicting moments of serene beauty and frantic aggression co-exist in such remarkable fashion.