Touche Amore are a five-piece post-hardcore band from Burbank with three full-length albums to their name and are prepared to add a fourth titled “Stage Four,” the follow-up to their 2013 release “Is Survived By…” The album retains some similar sounds, but definitely shows the growth and difference that three years of life experience can make.
“Stage Four” is a strong contender for some of the group’s best material. The band experiment with a more somber and melancholy sound with songs like ‘Benediction,’ ‘Skyscraper,’ and ‘Water Damage,’ containing more of a spoken and monotone sound vocally and a slower and more ambient instrumentation; it sounds reminiscent of the songs ‘Woman (In Mirror)’ and ‘Woman (Reading)’ by La Dispute, a band associated with Touche Amore sound-wise. On top of that, the instrumentation in this record is the strongest yet with more creative guitar riffing and drumming, as well as featuring short haunting pieces strung together within different songs. “Stage Four” also features incredible songs that continue to combine their knack for poetic story-telling and upbeat and energetic instrumentation: a sort of pseudo-grungy hardcore sound that is their own sound. Strongly reflective songs like ‘New Halloween’ and Flowers and You’ heavily hint toward the inspiration of the record: vocalist Jeremy Bolm’s mother’s death to cancer in 2014. Hard-hitting and emotional lyrics are nothing new to the band, but the lyrics in this record are some of the most evocative yet, and listen to the very end… If it doesn’t hit you hard, then I don’t know what would.
Touche Amore’s latest record lacks any bad songs and will stick with you. From its heartbreaking inspiration to the catchy and haunting instrumentation, “Stage Four” is an upbeat and somber rollercoaster that’s worth the price of admission. This is an album worth picking up, and worth listening to on repeat forever.
For Fans Of: La Dispute, Being As An Ocean, Hotel Books
By: Russell Ritchey