Sound: Touch Amor return with their second full-length album, "Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me", a follow up to 2009's "To The Beat Of A Dead Horse". This album, just like the other one, is a very short release, clocking in at an extensive 20 minutes. The album itself is an emotionally charged hardcore album, or screamo album, with quick-paced music driving forward lyrics that can sway and depress the listener, regardless of their resilience. Compared to the previous album, the guitars a little less distorted, and the twangy sound sticks out a bit more. There also seems to be less focus on the guitar parts on this album, as there are often breaks in songs where there is no guitar part, that is in pretty much every song. Instead there is usually just the drums and possibly singing. Then the guitar and bass comes in to bring the sound back up to full steam. Touche Amore power into the new album, with the opener "~". The words of the album title are quickly belted into the microphone amidst a really in-your-face sound. From there on, the band pushes forward like a runaway train, or a burrowed Infestor from Starcraft 2. Thing is, by the 5th song or so, the train suddenly reconnects with the rails, or the Infestor digs into the range of an enemy's detector, and the they no longer seem as menacing. The album kind of hits a rut here, where the band as a whole does not feel as connected, and the songs become less emotionally driven. After about 4 or so more songs, the train gathers momentum back, and the Infestor was able to take out the detector. The album picks back up again with "Wants/Needs" and then carries it to the kind of poppy, really fun listen that is "Home Away From Here". The album ends on with some of the best songs on the album, making sure that it ends with a bang.
03. The Great Repetition
04. Art Official
07. Method Act
08. Face Ghost
12. Home Away from Here
13. Amends // 8
Lyrics: The lyrics in this album are to be expected, very personal, conveying a lot of emotion to the listener. They invoke feelings of revenge, and sadness frequently.
"If actions speak louder than words
I'm the most deafening noise you've heard
I'll be that ringing in your ears
That will stick around for years"
"I'd rather play dead than play catch up
Because no one really cares all that much
I can't keep having the same conversations
I look to the floor to keep concentration"
The lyrics themselves are consistently good throughout the album, there are parts that wow the listener, parts that depress them, and parts that they can identify with. Even though the lyrics still seem pretty top-notch, the delivery is not as good as it can be. The vocalist doesn't seem to be putting as much power and emotion behind the lyrics like he did in their earlier release. With a style of music like this, having those characteristics is essential for having a well-rounded, good album, and I just feel like the band didn't deliver in this section as much as they could/should have.
My favorite set of lyrics comes from the very fun "Home Away From Here":
"I'm coming to terms that I'm not concerned
With planting my feet but looking onward
I'm growing older but I can't get over
The need of colder skin when I know that home is warmer
It's just that I have this problem
Where I want to be everywhere I'm not"
This is one of those sections that I felt quite a few people can identify with, especially people like me who have recently moved away from home for the first time, it reflects some common thoughts people have in those situations. // 7
Overall Impression: All in all, "Parting The Sea Between Brightness And Me" is a solid effort from Touche Amore, it is just lacking in a couple of departments, namely the song structure and the vocal delivery. They bring to the table some quality work, especially the opening track, "~" and "Home Away From Here". The themes in the album have a decent range, and more than likely there is something in there that the listener can latch onto. Touche Amore prove yet again that they are a formidable force in the screamo genre. // 8