“Is Survived By” – Touché Amoré (by Chase Montani)

The relentless touring schedule of Touché Amoré, of Los Angeles, C.A., exceeds that of most post-hardcore acts. The quintet’s fan-base spreads as far as Malaysia, Japan, Australia, and all of Europe. On their new album “Is Survived By”, the band displays their maturity from playing countless shows together. They have come in to their own and broke away from the other bands in their genre.

The album was produced by Brad Wood (Sunny Day Real Estate, As Cities Burn, mewithoutYou) and surpasses any quality of past Touché recordings. Also guitarists Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens challenged themselves to progress their already dulcet sound. The guitar work throughout the album is focused and progressive, using high trebly leads, and ambient, reverb permeated riffs when necessary. Forthright chord progressions that pull you in all of the directions vocalist Jeremy Bolm is bringing you in his throaty exclamations.

New inspirations and themes occur during “Is Survived By” that were not seen in their previous two full lengths “…To the Beat of a Dead Horse” (2009) and “Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me”. With their progressed brighter guitar tones comes brighter (for Touché at least) lyrics. Bolm proclaims, “I was once asked how I’d like to be remembered and I simply smiled and said ‘I’d rather stay forever” in the album opener “Just Exist”. From there on he goes through themes of overcoming loneliness, dealing with separation, distraction, and the pressures of being in a band.

While the stand-outs on the album are Bolm’s lyrics and their advanced guitar experimenting, much is to be said about the bass playing by Tyler Kirby and the velocious drumming as always provided by the constantly shirtless Elliot Babin (who obviously just plays to fast to wear a shirt). Kirby provides some groove to the album with protruding bass licks in “Anyone / Anything” and “Kerosene”. Elliot Babin is just showing off in “Just Exist” and the first single off of the album “Harbor”. Once again, the band is displaying the payoff that comes from the constant practice that is the endless touring schedule of Touché Amoré.

“Is Survived By” is Touché’s longest work to date. The band has been known to keep things “short and sweet” so that the listener does not get bored. This attributes to the progressive character the band has developed. And even in lengthening the songs and producing a longer work, it still ends before you want it to. The title track happens to close the album and is a perfect “sayonara” for listeners and also serves as the longest track on the album, coming in at a whopping 3:30 and is a remembrance letter for the band, explaining how they will be “survived by” their fans and support. Though their work isn’t as long as most bands, it never lacks in depth. Hey, isn’t the saying quality not quantity anyway? That seems to be the case with the California hard rockers.

The album which debuted at #86 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on the vinyl sales chart, was released September 24, 2013 and is available in several formats (LP, CD, digital download) at http://deathwishinc.com/estore/.

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