There aren’t many bands around right now that pack as much of an emotional punch as Touché Amoré. 2011’s Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me is a crushing whirlwind of post-hardcore greatness, and it really showed that they were one of the standout bands of the genre. And after a few increasingly impressive tracks via splits with The Casket Lottery and Pianos Become the Teeth, Touché is back with the first single from their upcoming album Is Survived By. “Harbor” is an absolute beast of a song that showcases everything the band is capable of, and amps up the already sky-high anticipation.
“Harbor” begins with a glimpse of the softer side of Touché, before quickly erupting with thundering guitars. The track is considerably slower paced than the breakneck pace of Parting, and that really allows the band to flex their muscles musically. The drums and bass are punishing and propel the track to dizzying heights. The drumming especially sounds vastly improved, with drummer Elliot Babin creating chaos behind the kit. Frontman Jeremy Bolm sounds as fantastic as he ever has, with his ferocious scream tearing through the track, delivering every ounce of energy and emotion he has. The track pounds along destructively before exploding into madness in the latter half. “Harbor” clocks in longer than any track on Parting and this added length lets the band add in a bit more dynamism to their sound. It really drives the band musically and shows that they are pushing themselves, and the results are incredible.
When I saw Touché opening for Circa Survive last year, the one facet that really stuck with me was Bolm’s performance. The sheer power he puts forth is breathtaking, and he carries that trait seamlessly from the stage to the record. His vocals are stunning and add a whole extra layer to the music, as if they are an instrument in their own right. Lyrically, Touché has always been at the top of their class and this track emphasizes that fact. The title “Harbor” is deliberate, as Bolm tells Rolling Stone, because “the listener gets a vision of a waterscape.” Bolm then turns the title around with the final line “To harbor the love that I have to give.” Touché has always had a poetic side to their music, and this track is no exception.
Is Survived By is one of the most anticipated albums of the fall, and for good reason. Touché Amoré really seem to be challenging and pushing themselves, and if “Harbor” is at all indicative of how the record will turn out, it should not disappoint.
You can listen to “Harbor” for yourself over at Rolling Stone‘s official website.