Touché Amoré – a well-known post-hardcore/punk band from Los Angeles, Calif. – has definitely made a name for themselves in the past couple of years. With the release of Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me, the band had seen their fan base grow significantly and seemed to be gaining new listeners every month. There’s no doubt that 2011 and 2012 were huge years for Touché Amoré. After hearing “Gravity, Metaphorically” off of the split with Pianos Become the Teeth, I became very curious to see what the band was going to do with their next LP. The song was a lot longer, and more structured than anything on Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. Don’t get me wrong, I loved the fast-paced, short and sweet manor of the 2011 LP, but “Gravity Metaphorically” had me convinced this band could create much more of an impact with longer songs. With the release of Is Survived By, Touché Amoré has not failed to impress me yet again.
The record introduces itself with “Just Exist," which happens to be the first single off of Is Survived By. Immediately, I noticed that the guitar work has become a lot more melodic, yet the chaotic spurts of energy from Touché Amoré are still present. The song flows right into “To Write Content,” a slightly more aggressive track. There’s an awesome break in this song towards the middle that gets a little quieter with distant vocals. “Praise / Love” displays a sense of maturity with the band. Everything about this track just feels grown up compared to Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me. “Praise / Love” seems to serve as an intro for track number four, “Anyone / Anything.” This track’s lyrics stood out to me a lot upon first listen. It’s an extremely relatable song for anyone who has people who expect way too much from them. The song also has one of the catchiest riffs Touché Amoré has ever produced towards the end. “DNA” is probably the most comparable song on Is Survived By to the band's previous work. I feel that this song is going to be an instant classic among returning Touché Amoré fans.
“Harbor” starts off a bit slower than any song on the record, but it's quickly kicked into gear by some roaring drums and vocals. It is one of the more melodic songs on Is Survived By. “Kerosene” starts off with a building drum roll that eventually leads into a standalone vocal part that gets the song going. The transitions in this song are some of the smoothest in Touché Amoré’s career. Following “Kerosene” is “Blue Angels,” another track displaying how much this band has grown as musicians. The guitar work and transitions throughout this song are something to admire. “Social Caterpillar” is on the longer side, but it definitely keeps your attention the entire time. This track has it all: technical parts, melodic parts, aggressive parts and relatable lyrics.
Track ten is probably one of my favorites that Touché Amoré has ever written. “Non Fiction” shows off some of the most beautiful instrumentation ever present in this genre. That being said, the song is mostly instrumental, but eventually leads into a soaring outro with some of Jeremy’s most passionate-sounding vocals. Following the breathtaking “Non Fiction” is “Steps,” a more uplifting song. It also houses some of my favorite lyrics on Is Survived By. Closing out the record is the title track, “Is Survived By”. It for sure earns its place as the last track and title track on the album. “Is Survived By” has some of the most admirable drumming I’ve heard coming from Touché Amoré. The guitars and vocals are absolutely beautiful and breathtaking. Overall, it’s one hell of goodbye from Is Survived By.
In the end, I don’t think anyone was expecting Touché Amoré to change their sound in any extreme way. Is Survived By is just another milestone in this band’s career – and a great one at that. Although it’s not anything too different, it’s a step forward in the perfect direction. I believe the band found their comfort zone on Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me and are just going to continue to build upon that sound. Is Survived By is a beautiful, mature, melodic update to the signature Touché Amoré sound.