REVIEW: Touche Amore – Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me

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Artist: Touche Amore
Album: Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me
Genre: Hardcore/Punk
Label: Deathwish Inc.

I’m from DC, there are few things about me that I’m more proud of. I have the DC flag tattooed on my leg, I adore this city, and everything it stands for. And of course, I can’t mention DC without talking about it’s iconic hardcore scene that spawned the movement decades ago. People from Southern California or New York try and argue that hardcore originated there, but that just isn’t true; screw your factual arguments. Their scenes were certainly respectable, and just as important, I mean, they had Black Flag – even though Henry Rollins was from DC – but DC is the home of hardcore, it’s what I grew up on, and it’s why I love this city. So of course, as the hardcore scene has evolved over the years, and become what it is today, I can’t help but feel a bit of pretentious shame. Bands have replaced emotion with open-B chugging rhythms, and labeling it as hardcore, or whatever sub-genre is the hot button these days. Those early days are long gone now, the music has evolved, the sound has changed, it’s simply a product of progress, there is no sense in being bitter about the inevitable change that sweeps the music industry so quickly, plus, it makes me sound like an ass. But those bands like Bad Brains, Minor Threat, and Rites of Spring will always have their place, and they will always be hugely influential in their own right, no matter what direction the music goes. Still, it’s comforting to see this tradition continuing on in it’s own way; the occasional contemporary band drawing influence from the classics, while still adding a modern touch to their sound. Touche Amore, out of Southern California, is one of those bands that keeps the old school hardcore tradition going, while managing to not sound outdated. They have a unique sound, that’s quite rare to come across these days, but it’s easy to cite where they came from, they know their roots, and after listening to them, so do I.

In true hardcore tradition, every song on Touche Amore’s new album, Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me clocks in at less than two minutes long; an unrelenting barrage of chaos, and unfiltered emotion, perfectly to the point, giving nothing more, because nothing more is needed. A very concise display of music. Which is perfect for me really, it brings me back to when I was 13, and had the attention span of a gnat, listening to old A.F.I. albums, which had 19 songs, and clocked in at 35 minutes long. The album kicks off with “~” , a track that starts off soft; clean guitars, drawn out chords, leaving the listener baffled by the barrage of sound that follows only seconds later. This song truly sets the tone for the entire album; ending with the line, “If actions speak louder than words, I’m the most deafening noise you’ve heard.”, and such words could not describe any band more aptly. Another stand out track, in my mind anyway, is “Condolences”, I’m sure some old school Touche Amore fans would have me drawn and quartered for uttering such blasphemes, but it combines the raw, emotionally driven vocals to be expected from Touche Amore, with a lo-fi, metronomic piano, pulsing throughout the entire track, which gives the song a more despondent post-hardcore feel, it goes against what the band is known for, but it still remains one of the most powerful tracks on the whole album.

Of course these short, compressed songs are very good at cutting the crap, but in a way, it made the album a bit of a blur. It’s nearly impossible to get sick of any given song before it ends if it’s less than two minutes long, but on the other hand, it’s equally impossible to really get into the album before the whole thing is over. It takes a few listens to understand the full impact and depth of this album, but in reality, a few listens of Parting The Sea Between Brightness and Me, equates to about the same running length of your average full length, so while it may not save too much time in the end, the album is still pretty damn efficient. Once I got a good feel for it, I loved every minute of this album, the only problem is that there weren’t enough minutes for me to enjoy; I kept feeling like there just wasn’t quite enough, “Condolences” alone could have lasted at least 4 minutes, but it didn’t, and perhaps that’s a good thing; I suppose it’s better to leave the fans wanting more, than to give them too much.

Score: 7/10
Review written by: Michael Hogan

James Shotwell

James Shotwell is the founder of Under The Gun Review. He loves writing about music and movies almost as much as he loves his two fat cats. He's also the co-founder of Antique Records and the Marketing Coordinator for Haulix. You should probably follow him on Twitter.

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