Touché Amoré - Is Survived By

Hardcore gets thoughtful with the Californians’ latest.

Label: Deathwish

Rating: 7

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. There’s pace, there’s variation, there’s a thoughtfulness to the tracks that could only ever come with age and experience. They’re finally provided the opportunity to showcase more of their differing influences, and above all, are afforded the chance to experiment.

Tracks like ‘Just Exist’ and ‘DNA’ manage to cleverly mirror the sound of their 2011 full-length ‘Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me’, before being juxtaposed by ‘Harbor’; a mid-paced, meandering yet musically uplifting journey. Elsewhere, ‘Praise / Love’ skilfully slows the album’s speed early on, paralleling the fragile vocals of their last album’s ‘Condolences’, before the haunting ‘Blue Angels’ boasts new dimensions thanks to additional female vocals. ‘Non Fiction’ is a stirring build up of layered guitars, whispers and vocals, while album closer and title track ‘Is Survived By’ stands as a raw, insightful but beautiful note upon which to end.

‘Is Survived By’ manages to take a band already celebrated in the underground and allow them the chance to grow into – not so much a new, but - a different beast. Exploring further realms – both musically and lyrically – with familiar hands, heads and hearts, this is an album, and a band, ready to give survival a go.