Release Date: Sep 24, 2013
Record label: Deathwish Records
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Punk/New Wave, Hardcore Punk
There's no subtle way to put it: Touche Amore definitely hit it out the park. Jeremy Bolm and his posse have taken the time and care since 2011 to ensure that Is Survived By plays off as not only their most mature and heartfelt record to date. It's the record that could well define Touche Amore's legacy.Bolm's candor, vulnerability and honesty is what makes Is Survived By explicitly profound.
To call Touché Amoré a "hardcore" band at this point would be a bit of a stretch — they're only hardcore in spirit and emotional intensity. Those aspects have become increasingly self-reflective, in accordance with the band's growing affinity for screamo and emo influences. Touché Amoré are no longer lambasting hipsters (i.e., "Hipsterectomy"), having instead turned their barrels inward, or outward, to more important targets.
Review Summary: Is Survived By is awesome. Listen to it.What Touché Amoré accomplish with Is Survived By is extraordinary. After the disappointing lasting appeal of Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me, the band seems to have set out to write a statement, a record that has enough depth to warrant coming back to it after their trademark and incredibly catchy brand of fast paced and intense “wave” hardcore initially hooks you.
Deathwish, Inc. circa 2013 has quite the fascination with the pretty music/harsh vocal contrast. This was seen first earlier this year in Deafheaven‘s Sunbather, an album that, while divisive in its composition, is more or less viewed as a landmark in the ever-growing “post-black metal” craze, which began in a big way with Alcest‘s 2007 masterpiece Souvenirs d’un autre monde.
After a bracing EP and two genre-revitalizing LPs, nothing was the same for Los Angeles post-hardcore band Touché Amoré going into Is Survived By. Lead singer Jeremy Bolm’s got a lot on his mind-- He’s concerned about what his third album will mean for his legacy as an artist and whether he’s focused too much on what he does rather than who he is. He sees the replication of his father’s shortcomings in his current relationships, but realizes his old man did the best he could.
Growing up as an adolescent in the 2000’s, the only word that was more offensive than “emo” was, of course, “screamo. ” Of course, being the sheltered middle/high school student I was, I was completely unaware of what either term actually meant in a historical sense (to my younger self, My Chemical Romance practically invented emo), but pretty much anything that ended in “-mo” was a curse word, and the use of it was an instant turn-off. The whiny lyrics, over-exaggerated emotion, and try-hard edgy fashion of said “pop-emo/screamo” bands felt totally inauthentic to me, and I was much more willing to dissent from it and stick with Reign in Blood.
Touché Amoré are hardly your typical hardcore band, as they demonstrate once again with album No. 3. Instead of rehashing “stabbed in the back” clichés, songs like “Just Exist” and the title track see frontman Jeremy Bolm exploring his own existential doubt over a wall of controlled catharsis where even blast beats sound melodic. And Is Survived By isn’t all pit-fodder; the cinematic-sounding “Non Fiction” showcases a mastery of dynamics that’s equally as impressive as the heavy stuff and goes a long way to explaining why these guys are fitting, if still surprising, picks to open for AFI on their big fall comeback tour.
In 2011, with the impressive Parting the Sea Between Brightness And Me, post-hardcore band Touché Amoré somehow reached new heights of both heaviness and melody. In 2013, they’ve bested themselves. Making music more emotional, frantic and yet polished than ever before, thanks to the help of producer Brad Wood (who has produced albums by The Smashing Pumpkins, Sunny Day Real Estate and, most notably, Liz Phair’s Exile in Guyville), Touché Amoré have released one of the best hardcore albums of 2013 – a year full of great ones.
The third studio album from Touché Amoré, 2013's Is Survived By features more of the Los Angeles hardcore outfit's furious, passionate, intensely personal sound. The album follows up the band's 2011 album, Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Produced by Brad Wood, who has worked with such acts as Sunny Day Real Estate and Smashing Pumpkins, Is Survived By also features guest appearances by Balance & Compusure's Jon Simmons and Manchester Orchestra's Andy Hull.
As a gut response to being surrounded by infinite soapboxes for those with opinions and arseholes, cynicism is the armour du jour. Especially now that we fight our battles in comment sections rather than the trenches, it takes something pretty exceptional these days to fully bypass the firewall of our emotional accessibility. The gut-punch of sincerity that Touché Amoré frontman Jeremy Bolm delivers on Is Survived By though, threatens to be just that.
With their previous two albums, Touché Amoré pinned their colours to the mast. Having produced two records clocking in around the twenty minute mark each time, they became quickly infamous for their vicious, quick-paced assault of hardcore, but now, things have changed.While their thirsts for the heavier genre remain, their talents have been honed. Where their previous tracks were blasts of adrenaline, running breathlessly into one another, this time around, each song seems to hold its own weight.Don’t be fooled: ‘Is Survived By’ still manages to possess the momentum of the previous works – something showcased perfectly through Elliot Babin’s insatiably rapid drumming – but the band feel more in control.