Touche Amore - Live On BBC Radio One: Vol 2 [7-inch] (Cover Artwork)
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Touche Amore

Live On BBC Radio One: Vol 2 [7-inch] (2014)


Is Survived By was the record that blew the roof off 2013 to me. Not only was it a personal piece of therapy but it remarkably followed up Touché Amoré's split with Pianos Become The Teeth in January of said year. Hearing two of my favorite bands bringing the noise was something I waited for for quite some time. In regards to Touché, I marked last year as a turning point in their career or more specifically, the way they impacted on me. I was always a fan but 2013 really redefined the way I looked at Jeremy Bolm, his band, their lyrical output and overall, so many of their heartfelt messages. They converted me into a super—fan in one of my most trying years. Imagine my sheer joy at seeing songs off both 2013 albums unleashed on Live On BBC Radio One: Vol 2. Not only do they recapture the essence and magic of last year but once again, they find away to hammer out something else from their catalog which proves a most fitting sequel. The band continues to paint the contemporary hardcore/punk canvas with their signature and this time around, there's something more raw, jarring and energetic to Touché which holds itself up even better than expected.

"Just Exist" is a perfect opener which packs a hefty emotional punch a la Is Survived By. Bolm spewing his throaty take on life and legacies unfolds very powerfully to Elliot Babin's frenetic kitwork. Another beast performance from Babin shines throughout the production to prove (yet again) that he's one of the most consistently amazing drummers around today. In fact, the album in its brief entirety is very technically sound. Very much so. On this track however, one setback with the instrumentation is that it drowns out Bolm a bit too much but as the four songs progress, his vocals do manage to become more pronounced. And when his voice gets more prominent, that's when you pick up on him shifting his voice to a more restrained (yet still hoarse) delivery. It's subtle but as someone who listens to this team religiously, it's easy to pick up. Surprisingly, it doesn't work against the flow of the music and more so, it swims well with the momentum of the guitars. They dance in and out with perfect timing as Touché cultivate a huge similarity to the original record.

This then sets the stage for "Gravity, Metaphorically" — one of their biggest and most moving songs to date — not to mention something longer than their usual at over four minutes. It's as anxious and nervy as the parent track with its vibrant emo—hardcore spin hitting you at all corners. Again, Babin goes to town here. The guitars do breathe a bit more and settle off as more melodic which works in favor of the track. But as the song crescendos into its huge, sprawling finale, the closing lines of "At least I tried" are left out — which feels like a letdown given that it was the big payoff. That aside, gears are neatly switched into another lyrically driving tune in "Harbor". It' slow and painstakingly so. Another strong interpretation of what they did in studio the first time around. This was one of the 2013 songs that took me a while to get used to, I admit...but the band's rendition reemphasizes why it finally stuck. It's as haunting and unrestrained as can be. "Non—Fiction" then patiently builds to close off proceedings. Without the wordspeak at the beginning, it feels a bit awkward but eventually, its beauty calms the nerves. Bolm then quickly draws out all his fire and angst into yet another magnificent poem as if to reassure you that everything's all right. Comparing these songs to the originals, it's hard to find faults. This particular jam is slower—paced and much more melodic but as it barrels into a noisier ambiance, you're lost because this is the playground where Bolm thrives in — continuing his narrative on love, life and loss.

With such a great production in tow, Touché Amoré expose their best assets and would no doubt earn the respect of fans even more. They seem so comfy here. I'd have liked to hear "Is Survived By" and "Steps" on this live session but I'll take what I can get. It looks like their ever—increasing life on the road is working out for the band because they sound as on—point as ever. Everything about them here seems brilliantly constructed and you won't be disappointed. It leaves you in a really great place.

Where they go next, I can't wait to see.