Touché Amoré return with their fifth album, ‘Lament’. The record follows up 2016’s ‘Stage Four’, a deeply personal piece that found vocalist Jeremy Bolm mourning the loss of his mother. This album finds Jeremy and his bandmates looking at what life has been like over the past four years as they all push forward for a brigher future.
A trademark scream and powerful drums signals the start of the opener ‘Come Heroine’, a song that finds Jeremy thanking someone for saving him from a rut as he admits ‘I’m just a risk, a colossal near miss’ and reminds the subject ‘When I swore I saw everything, I saw you. You brought me in’. The title track swiftly follows with dynamic hooks and deeply impassioned lyrics about feeling vulnerable: ‘You’d think I know by now I’d know my place, but I lose it every day. You’d think by now I’d have a grip but again I let it slip’.
Written after Donald Trump got away with the impeachment, ‘Reminders’ finds Jeremy pondering about what to do when things get too much (‘I need reminders of the love I have, I need reminders, good or bad’) before telling himself to calm down – some stunning vocals from Julien Baker help here – before ‘Limelight’ calms things down with observations on tiredness, ageing and growing into a relationship: ‘Tonight, we’re moving slowly while the cavalry moves in for the kill’; ‘Some nights not kissing, some nights just before’. Jeremy lament the deaths of his old dogs before Manchester Orchestra’s Andy Hull makes a cameo with a heartfelt verse covering similar themes.
‘Savoring’ and ‘Broadcast’ both have stirring guitar work: the former finding the band dipping their toes into Explosions in the Sky-style post rock and the latter something far more intimate and intricate as Jeremy examines his next actions: ‘It’s that special kind of quiet where one might be concerned, but even with this silence my voice can be misheard’. Following the release of ‘Stage Four’, many fans have felt the need to talk to the frontman about their personal experiences of grief and – although he admits he’d be the same in their position – these conversations have led to bouts of anxiety. ‘I’ll Be Your Host’ covers his feelings on the matter (‘I’ll be your host against my will’; ‘I don’t want this role. I give it up. It’s not enough’) as he needs people to know he doesn’t have the answers they may be looking for. This theme continues through on ‘Deflector’: ‘That’s too personal. I’m too delicate’.
The album draws to a close with a surprising turn into Rufus Wainwright or Ben Folds-esque piano pop territory as Jeremy sings about how he feels let down when no one reaches out to him on certain days: ‘On the anniversaries of the worst kind of days, my phone was mostly silent. One excuse was giving space. It’s not like I wrote some lyrics detailing the exact event. Some profit off the album, most I consider friends’. He composes himself as he talks about losing more family members and still loving the Coen Brothers before declaring about this stream of consciousness: ‘Here’s the record closer. Still working out its intent. I’m not sure what I’m after but it can’t go left unsaid’ before a huge guitar-led finish brings the album to a stunning end.
‘Lament’ is a personal and cathartic listen that finds Touché Amoré pushing ahead for something more hopeful, while not forgetting the personal experiences that shape and define our lives…