Touché Amoré - Lament
“On their phenomenal fifth album, the post-hardcore band work with famed producer Ross Robinson and come away with their most affecting and resonant music yet.” – Pitchfork: Best New Music (8.2)
Touché Amoré has been burrowing through angst, alienation, cancer, and death throughout four adored studio albums. After over a decade of working through darkness, the band’s gorgeously gruff fifth album, Lament, finds the light at the end of the tunnel. Through 11 songs, Touché Amoré looks back at its past and uses hard-won optimism to point its fans toward light, and love.
Last year, the Los Angeles quintet re-recorded its 2009 debut, …To the Beat of a Dead Horse, to celebrate the decade gone by. It was a straightforward reflection of a time when the band’s songs rarely surpassed the two-minute mark and hooks were accidental if existent. A striking contrast to the band in 2020, as their evolution with every step in their oeuvre has lead to this moment. Lament is their masterstroke. Its longer, structured songs soar with a ferocious but delicate musicality and powerful, gut-wrenching storytelling that smashes previous heights. Yet as much as the band has grown and matured via everything they’ve endured, it’s perhaps equally impressive how they’ve managed to stay true to their core…
“I’ve always stood by the idea that if you’re gonna raise your voice and you’re gonna yell,” Bolm says, “and somebody is kind enough to listen to you do that—then I would not half-ass anything. I would be as honest as I possible”
The band’s critically acclaimed 2016 release, Stage Four, found Bolm mourning and paying tribute to his late mother, which in turn, challenged his emotional bandwidth to converse with an upswell of fans responding with their own stories of grief. Along with the duty of being empathetic, the band had to deal with their own lives. Personal relationships bloom, members’ families change either by marriage or fractured bonds. A new president takes office, and personal turmoil turns political.
“I sort of look at this record as a companion piece to Stage Four, in the sense that I’m not writing songs about [my mom] anymore,” Bolm says. “But the songs on this record are about what my life’s been like since doing that.”
Lament captures all of this. A widescreen view at the constant fragility we face as people, as well as, life-after-jarring-trauma that we all must endure at some time or another.
After working with Brad Wood for its past two efforts, Touché Amoré sought to break out of the proverbial comfort zone and get the famously demanding Ross Robinson (At the Drive-In). Both Robinson and Touché Amoré are known for their trademark intensity, which caused some hesitancy for Bolm.
Perhaps Lament’s biggest point is that Touché Amoré are still human. On “Limelight,” the solemn guitar plucks work almost as a solace for Bolm as he works through the deaths of his beloved dogs over the past two years and an understandable outward cynicism. The song also finds him praising his partner for supporting him through it all, and the overwhelming feeling becomes one of hope. “So let’s embrace the twilight/While burning out the limelight,” he shouts against the climaxing chords. He may still be broken but he’s trying, as we all are.