REVIEW: Self Defense Family / Touché Amoré – ‘Self Love’ 7-Inch Split

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Artist: Self Defense Family / Touché Amoré
Album: Self Love 7-Inch Split
Genre: Post-Hardcore 
Label: Deathwish Inc.

2010 saw post-hardcore acts Touché Amoré and La Dispute team up for a split titled Searching For A Pulse/The Worth of the World, which, to a minor degree, featured a bit of collaboration between the two bands. On the split’s four songs, Touché vocalist Jeremy Bolm and La Dispute vocalist Jordan Dreyer employed dueling vocals and complementing backing tracks to one another’s side. This proved, by most accounts, a “good idea” — it garnered an 86% from Absolutepunk’s Adam Pfleider, a 4.5/5 stars from Punknews, and a 10/10 from yours truly. This brings us to Touché’s latest split offering, also a collaborative effort with the, uh, complex Self Defense Family. The collaboration here is to an even greater extent, with the collective 15 members of both bands working together to create the two songs found on this 7-inch.

We’ve been waiting on this split for a while, since it was hinted at in an Instagram post way back when, and “Circa 95” is the first taste we get. It’s definitely the more straight-up, no-holds-barred of the two songs, featuring Bolm and SDF vocalist Patrick Kindlon trading vocals similarly to how Bolm and Dreyer did five years ago. Touché Amoré has never had a problem throwing together punchy lower ends, incessant vocals, and rather subdued yet charismatic guitar parts, and Self Defense Family seem to follow suit while throwing in their own sonic influence, adding dissonant, noisy qualities. The combination gives “Circa 95” a fully fleshed-out feel, even if this song was the one of the two written “on the spot,” as Bolm said in an interview.

This brings us to “Low Beams,” the more melodic, smooth counterpart to the aggressive pummeling of “Circa 95.” The more dynamic of the two, “Low Beams” takes a minute and a half to build up to the best two minutes that this collaboration churned out. In short, it’s a perfect example of what the two bands are capable of when they work together, effectively showcasing each band’s instrumental prowess and songwriting capability.

Self Love isn’t very unique in its merger of the two distinct bands’ sounds, but it’s a solid effort from both Touché Amoré and Self Defense Family and a worthy addition to their respective catalogs.

SCORE: 8/10
Review written by Mark Garza

Self Love is available now through Deathwish Inc.

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