On their new album Lament, which drops on Oct. 9 via Epitaph Records, the L.A. post-hardcore group Touche Amore sound powerful.
Their music aptly intertwines hardcore aggression with a very emotion-forward sense of melody, as if the music flows through quite real moments of interpersonal turmoil. It’s like a look in the mirror after a particularly emotionally tumultuous experience, and via the energy in their music, Touche Amore don’t stop there. They also chart a path forward to a kind of freedom, even if subtle. They don’t sound stuck; without any sort of pretenses about the pain of the journey, the band sounds formidable and even subtly triumphant. Lament is an invigorating listen; amidst their journey into the emotionally overcast tension reflected by their music’s wavering unease, Touche Amore find peaks and breakthroughs.
The band’s vocalist Jeremy Bolm sounds as expressive as ever, and his lyrics provide a richly experiential roadmap to the group’s creation — in one particularly memorable moment at the intensely swirling end of the otherwise more meditative “Limelight,” Bolm repeats the lines: “So let’s embrace the twilight/ While burning out the limelight.” It’s a fist-pumping expression of self-acceptance — and although the lyrics and vocals are seriously the farthest thing from an afterthought here, one does not even need to follow along to grasp the band’s power. The riveting instrumentation itself cycles through tension and release.
After the aggressive (although not exactly abrasive) leaps of riffing on album opener “Come Heroine,” which closes with a crescendo of somewhat more restrained, emotional desperation-wracked riffing, follow-up track “Lament” leans back into increasingly simmering rhythms that feel a bit more settled down, although the rhythmic heaves of the song still carry a self-reflective emotional weight.
The band’s melodies frequently feel, quite simply, starkly beautiful — “Feign,” which immediately follows those opening two tracks, runs on one such melody. The song feels like it somehow captures the emotional vibe of sitting inside and watching a thunderstorm rage through the window. There’s plenty of heaviness and energetic edge in the band’s music, and across Lament overall, they’ve made a place for some piercing contemplation via melodies that feel like a stroll through the rain rather than some kind of oppressive musical onslaught.
“Reminders” (which is track four) launches back into more overtly energetic territory, but the rhythms feel very breathable, which makes the hardcore-toned journey through emotional rapids feel very accessible for listeners. This accessible, breathable, and vibrantly pulsating heaviness continues elsewhere, like on the track “Savoring,” which even includes two brief blast beat sections. Touche Amore frequently shift across dynamics, but their movements always feel quite cohesive. The emotional imprint of cathartic release always shines through.
Imagine the catharsis of taking in the sounds of Touche Amore while in a packed club, surrounded by friends and strangers who are all, temporarily, on the same enlivening journey with the music. That’s what Lament feels like.