Where to begin, with Touché Amoré. They are easily one of the most emotional bands for me to listen to.
Touché Amoré - Stage Four
It starts with my discovery of their album Stage Four (Epitaph). Having a son go through cancer, and come out on the other side, but meeting people along the way who weren't so lucky, the subject matter of that record hits home really hard.
From the lyrics, to singer Jeremy Bolm's passionate screams, it's all so very real. Bolm also has this unique ability to bring melody to his yells, or at least an implied melody.
Here we are, with their follow up Lament (Epitaph), which is their fifth full length - if you don't count the ten year anniversary release of ...To The Beat Of A Dead Horse - Touché Amoré show no signs of slowing down, or losing any passion.
Come Heroine opens the record with Bolm's trademark urgency. He's singing about someone, or something, coming into his life helping him open up and soften up, to the hardships in his life. He sings about seeing the walls that he built up, crumble - even if it's difficult for him to let this person in. 'From peaks of blue/Come heroine/With open arms you brought down the walls I defend/And I'm just a risk/A colossal near miss/Prone to resist what is best for me'.
While the recurring themes on Stage Four revolved around the health, and passing, of his mother, the themes on Lament are more inward focused. Feign has the music pushing along at a faster pace, while Bolm sings 'I say the wrong thing at the perfect time/That's my signature on the silver line/I say the wrong thing at the perfect time/It's an accident when I fall in line'.
Reminders features a chorus that might be the closest thing to a hook on this record. 'I need reminders of the love I have/I need reminders good or bad/I tilt my chin up in photographs/A subtle to reinvent the past'. In tough times, it's good to have reminders of the things that bring us love and joy. Also, the cameo filled video, is absolutely adorable.
Limelight (feat. Manchester Orchestra)
Limelight is an incredible moment on this album. The gentle start to the song, that eventually explodes, creates a mood similar to the post-hardcore giants of the past. Not to be missed in this song is Tyler Kirby's bass work - it really takes off, driving the back half of the second verse. The song also features an incredible feature from Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra. When his voice comes in, it commands your attention, before he and Bolm begin struggling to be heard over each other. It's a fitting end, as the song deals with tough times in relationships.
Limelight also introduces a pedal steel guitar at the end, which isn't the last time we hear it on the record, as it is featured again on the song A Broadcast. In fact, this song stands as one of the more experimental tracks. The pedal steel providing a surprisingly Pink Floyd-esque feel.
Closing the album is A Forecast - a song about Bolm laying his heart out there, and not even getting an ounce of support from people he felt close to, when facing hard things. 'On the anniversaries/Of the worst kind of days/My phone was mostly silent/One excuse was 'giving space'/It's not like I wrote some lyrics/Detailing the exact events/Some profit off the album/And most I just consider friends'.
When an artist is known for laying his emotions on the line, you always want the album to end on a happy note. This album doesn't seem to do that - in fact, it makes you feel a little raw. Jeremy Bolm is one of the best lyricists in the post-hardcore game, one we need to appreciate - but it can be hard to watch at times. This record, however, is not hard to listen to.
Standout Tracks on Lament
For more new music reviews, check out our review of Dancing With The Curse (Fat Wreck Chords) by Get Dead, here.