When people listen to music, they often find it an escape from the turmoil of modern-day events. While most music serves as a display of the artist’s emotions, current trends indicate that manufactured, “bubbly” music is what dominates a majority of listeners’ ears. Focus on the overall instrumental sound of music rather than the lyrical component yields no disadvantage to its passionate counterpart; it just seems to be the tale of marketing success. Disregarding trends, there comes a record ever so often that takes the best of both aspects of music to create what I can only refer to as a masterpiece. With Touche Amore’s fifth studio album Lament, the Los Angeles five-piece worked tirelessly to create an album that is equally vehement as it is compellingly constructed.
“Come Heroine” starts with Jeremy Bolm’s strained yells and no instrumentation before a flurry of sound comes pouring through the speakers. Fast-paced drumming contrasts more subdued instrumentals where vocals take center stage. The back half of the song is full of purgative energy; I compare the feeling I got to someone getting everything off of their chest for the betterment of their health. “Lament” continues with the sound that Touche Amore has continued to progress into since the release of Stage Four, their previous album. The band has veered away from their career-defining post-hardcore / punk tendencies into a more post-rock, free-flowing method of writing, and “Lament” is a perfect example of both old and new influences in cohesion to create an unparalleled sound. “Feign” features some of Bolm’s most artful lyricism to date. The succession of life after Bolm’s mother passing became the focal point of this record, thereby leaving an emotional resonance within his words. “Reminders” feels the most like previous Touche Amore than the new entries in the catalog. As a single release, I have already heard this track, but it still remains one of my favorites due to the seamless blend of male / female vocals (a shout out to extraordinaire Julien Baker) and softer elements.
“Limelight” is one of the songs that has the benefit of a longer track time. As the longest song on the album (just over five minutes), the gradual wind-up into a grandiose ending is one of those feelings you just have to experience for yourself. The sudden introduction of Andy Hull (of Manchester Orchestra fame) is also a drop-your-jaw moment on this record. “Exit Row” returns to the more hardcore direction that “Lament” and “Feign” before showcased. “Savoring” continues that pace with a faster-paced cacophony of instruments while Bolm’s yelling is more at the forefront of the mix. “A Broadcast” is much more somber than anything else on the record. The emotion displayed as Bolm’s lyrics penetrate the soundscape is unequaled by most.
“I’ll Be Your Host” and “Deflector” play really well with each other in succession. Both songs feature epic choruses that are contrasted by softer-flowing parts to bring emphasis to the story being told. Album closer “A Forecast” delivers harrowing passages over soft piano to really cement the tone of the album as one of understanding life in the state of confusion and misplaced anger before erupting in a finale that is rewarding as it is cathartic.
At right around 35 minutes, this album is worth every second of your time to listen to if you have the chance. A tale of emotion and coping after tragedy, Lament is sure to go down in the record books as a hallmark of post-hardcore / post-rock music.
I give Lament by Touche Amore a 10 out of 10.
Check out the songs “Feign”, “Limelight”, and “I’ll Be Your Host”.