Overall Score: 9/10 Lyrics: 10/10 Songwriting: 9/10 Vocals : 9/10 Pros: Beautifully crafted songs that perfectly capture the lingering effects of loss Cons: Certain songs and their subject matter might be difficult listening for some
Following up an album like Stage Four was never going to be an easy task for Touche Amore. A deeply personal album that managed to capture the pain vocalist Jeremy Bolm went through after such a huge loss in an unflinching way. It’s the sort of album a band would never be able to replicate even if they wanted to. Four years they are now back with it’s follow up Lament, an album that explores the lasting effects of grief and how these things don’t pass easily.
The album roars to life with the incredible Come Heroine, in 2 minutes and 50 seconds the song perfectly shows off everything that makes Touche Amore so great. Seamlessly flowing through ferocious punk passages into beautifully elegant melodic moments. Jeremy once again delivers an incredibly raw vocal performance where every word that comes out of his mouth is so believable. The title track feels like a very natural follow on to Stage Four. Jeremy has always been a fantastic lyricist and it’s no different here. The main hook here of “I lament, then I forget, So I lament, till I reset” encompassing how he processes sadness.
Lead single Limelight provides one of the albums biggest deviations from what Touche have done before. At 5 minutes it is the longest song they’ve ever recorded and is far more expansive as a result. It slowly builds with very delicate guitars to begin with which gain intensity alongside Jeremys vocals. The guest vocals from Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra bring the song to a stunning close especially when he starts overlapping with Jeremy creating a stark contrast between the two and delivering one of the stand out moments on the album.
This isn’t an album that’s just front loaded either. The entire record is a journey without a single moment feeling like filler. The final few tracks in particular are all incredible standouts I’ll Be Your Host is about the difficulty Jeremy faces being approached by fans telling him their stories of loss and his unwillingness to take on this burden. It’s a bleak song that again comes from a very real place. None of this ever feels like Touche are just using trauma as a way to sell records either, like other more cynical bands would.
Whilst it is easy to focus in on Jeremy Bolms performance, he’s such a commanding presence as a vocalist. And the songs are all very clearly personal to him, yet every member here is at the top of their game. Tyler Kirby and Clayton Stevens guitar work really adds to the dynamics of the album whilst Elliot Babin gives the album so much punk energy from behind the drum kit. And the much talked about Ross Robinson production job ends up being a brilliant fit for the band, just enhancing all the right elements of their sound.
As A Forecast brings the album to a beautiful close it completely cements Touche Amore as one of the very best bands around right now. The quality of the songs here absolutely lives up to what came before. It’s an emotionally draining record at times but is also one that gets more rewarding with each listen, as their strength of their songwriting shines through more each time. Lament is a stunning album and is a fantastic companion piece to Stage Four.
The new Touche Amore album, Lament, is out tomorrow (9th October 2020) on Epitaph Records.