When I heard that Pianos Become the Teeth and Touché Amoré were going to release a split this year, I already prepared myself for thousands and thousands of “The Wave” minions overrating the shit out of a two-song release that is barely anything more than a teaser for both bands’ upcoming full lengths. And while it is obviously true that this split is mainly a signpost for what’s to come later this year, and there were indeed people calling this the best thing ever with the only downside being that it is “too short” (sigh), I was pleasantly surprised at how well this thing turned out.
PBTT’s “Hiding” is arguably the more interesting and sophisticated song of the two, owing to the forceful dynamics of the dripping guitars and flickering drums as well as the unusual vocal performance of singer Kyle Durfey, who apparently has been steadily soft-pedaling the distortion in his vox since their debut Old Pride. During the five-minute runtime he ranges between labile vibratos and slightly abrasive emotional outbursts, following the instrumental lead while heavily focusing on a genuine feel of the lyrics. But what truly makes this song is the elaborate songwriting, which allows feathery melodies and pure anger to juxtapose seamlessly.
“Gravity, Metaphorically”, however, pushes forward in the best Touché Amoré manner, taking some conceivable twists and turns on its way and delivering easily digestible hardcore with steady tomb beats and jarring guitars. As opposed to the indecisive “Hiding”, this song’s destination is virtually determined as soon as the beautifully picked arpeggio kicks in halfway, leading to an inevitable cathartic climax with vocalist Jeremy Bolm screaming “at least I tried” till the ringing chords slowly fade away. Despite its predictability, the song progression is utterly enjoyable and satisfying due to the passionate and concise delivery and, of course, the magic of a well-written acoustic arpeggio break – a tool that just always works out.
In the end, this split definitely fulfills its purpose by demonstrating that both bands are capable of releasing great records later this year. Although both bands have released better songs in the past, and Kyle Durfey’s vibrato comes across as somewhat artificial and dull instead of engaging most of the time (it just had to be said), signs are pointing to a bright year for two of the heavyweights in current hardcore music.