Revolver has teamed with Touché Amoré for an exclusive black inside aqua on a 140-gram LP of their new album, Lament, limited to 500 copies worldwide. Order yours before they're gone!
Touché Amoré's hard-hitting new album — the post-hardcore veterans' fifth overall — dropped today, October 9th, via Epitaph Records. Produced by Ross Robinson (Slipknot, Korn, Glassjaw), and featurinng art direction by guitarist Nick Steinhardt and photography by Deafheaven's George Clarke, Lament is another striking offering from the Los Angeles-based post-hardcore group, one that sees them exploring new, more positive creative ground, especially coming in the wake of two LPs, 2013's Is Survived By and 2016's Stage Four, that wrangled with illness and grief.
Here, frontman Jeremy Bolm gives us an in-depth track-by-track breakdown of the album, both musically and lyrically.
For the sake of this track-by-track, it's important to note that the music always comes first. Never have I had lyrics or any idea of direction for mind until I have a canvas to work on. That said, when the music to a song is written, you sometimes get that lucky feeling of knowing a song is going to be the first track or the last track. I've had this gut instinct for each one of our records. The first and last tracks always stand out. Taking that inspiration and applying it to the lyrical content is important. Often this makes writing the lyrics to these bookends hyper difficult. You dwell on what to lead with — what's the opening line going to be? I imagine it's this way for a novelist or a screenwriter, so I'm aware I'm not unique with this. This song sets up the album with the urgency I feel to show appreciation for the one who's kept me grounded and feeling loved throughout all the tragedies I've faced. I never felt like I was facing them alone, which is the most important thing to offer someone who's grieving. My boy Justice Tripp of Trapped Under Ice/Angel Du$t sings backups with me over "Now I'm undone," which was such a joy to record and spend time with him in the studio.
The title track. Not originally planned to be the title track, but it worked out that way. There was an idea of going self-titled, or naming it "From Peaks of Blue," amongst many other things. But when I took a step back and looked over all the lyrics, the titles and notes I'd made … "Lament" made sense. Each album gets shorter and shorter titles it seems, so having this one be one strong word that sorta ties up what I've spent my life doing, it felt right. This song is mostly about the cycle of anxiety or sadness you can feel by something setting it off. Somehow this all was written pre-pandemic, so it might be more relatable now. The cycle I'm referencing is: lamenting (being hit with it), forgetting (fixating on a distraction), lamenting (hitting you again, potentially while trying to go to sleep) and resetting (waking up).
Imposter syndrome was the catalyst for this one. I'm convinced anything I've written that made any kind of an impact on someone was luck or by mistake. So when it comes to sitting down to write, it's impossible not to try and think of those expectations your audience may have for you and let it completely eat you alive. I'd like to add that I don't trust a single artist who doesn't experience this feeling. If you believe in yourself so much that you don't have any doubts, I'm convinced your art is jeopardized.
I've rarely felt inclined to lean political with this band. My other band Hesitation Wounds has always been my outlet for that lane of my brain. HW allows me space to be clumsy with my words and get out the angst I'm feeling when I want to Molotov cocktail a Wells Fargo. But while writing this album, Trump was having his impeachment trial and I wrote this the day he was left off the hook. I should have expected it, but it felt so defeating. I was deflated and exhausted. So I put pen to paper to dig into that feeling without actually saying his shitty name and being too specific, but just channeling how I was feeling in the moment. I drew inspiration from Conor Oberst of Bright Eyes who has always done an incredible job of juxtaposing political commentary with deeply personal outpourings (see: "Land Locked Blues," "Let's Not Shit Ourselves," "Old Soul Song"). The chorus of this song feels celebratory, though it's really not. It's the reminder that we need to find the love for ourselves for ourselves. We can't expect anyone, especially appointed people, to bring us that feeling of being cared for. Arguably our catchiest song. Shout out to Julien Baker for coming in strong with us on the choruses to make them pop even more.
This was the first song we wrote when began writing this album. Ross Robinson took this song that we felt pretty good about and gave it some serious new legs. For example, it was his suggestion to add the driving outro, when it picks up tempo over "So let's embrace the twilight while burning out the limelight." Working with Andy Hull of Manchester Orchestra was such a dream, too. We have a great relationship and always talked of working together, so having this work out was such a blessing. The original idea was some pretty backups and he instead wrote several lines of lyrics and transformed the entire ending conceptually. For me, this song is my attempt to focus on the fragility as well as the strength of love. How — though we may view ourselves as sensitive and weak under circumstances beyond our control (tragedy specifically) — there's strength in the comforts of love. How at the end of the day that's really all that matters. I could live the rest of my life without having to adhere to what's considered cool, and instead go live in the mountains with my family. I wrote this song shortly after the passing of one of my dogs (Marianne), and then re-sang the second verse once my other dog (Melissa) died. Ross was always looking and digging for the deepest emotions possible, so I trusted this was the right move.
"Exit Row" is my reaction to a lot of things. It's a stressful song. I can audibly hear my stress and nervousness in this song. It was one of the very last songs written for the album and it was while I was feeling completely blocked up. I remembered when James Blake angrily reacted to a press outlet calling him a "sad boy" when he released a new song, and rightfully fucking so. I felt kinship with that. There's a "bro" or overall jock mentality that publications who seem to be on board with eliminating toxic masculinity that still play this card of pointing out when someone is "really sad." I feel it's important to point out that some of the happiest-seeming people are often riddled with depression (see: Robin Williams), so I think it's completely realistic for that to go the other way. Yes, I write some pretty unhappy material, but if you've ever met me you'll know that I don't often show it. So this was my reaction to that pigeonholed feeling that a lot of songwriters get for being personally expressive and showing sensitivity. "I'll offer up my aisle seat in this exit row for the sad elite."
Another humorous example of a song somehow not written during the pandemic. The opening lyrics are "Savoring the days, that we spent inside/As if tomorrow will be different/Whatever we decide, its nurturing." I think calling it "nurturing" is where it may give away that it was written beforehand, but you get the idea. This song is in the same admiration column as "Come Heroine." I wanted to focus a little bit on how when you're not in the presence of the person or people that keep you stable, the smallest things can set you in a bad direction. One example in this song was motivated by that drive between El Paso, Texas, and Austin, Texas. It's always the only song on the record with a blast beat, so enjoy that, metalheads.
I was reading a lot of Leonard Cohen poetry and lyrics at the time of writing this. No one tackled a four-line stanza quite like him. He's the king of first line rhyming with third line, second line rhyming with fourth. There's such a suave swagger to his way of doing this, so I let a stream of conscious roll out of me and wrote several four line verses one after another and I cherry-picked my four favorite. I throw a reference to not only LC but to a song from our second album called "Art Official" by referencing "the golden boy."
Our last album, Stage Four, was front to back about the loss of my mother to stage four breast cancer. It was a necessary album for me to write to deal with my grieving and inability to properly express my feelings in any other way. I foolishly didn't seek out any grief counseling, which, at this point, I'm well aware I should have done. I should still do it, to be honest. When I wrote those lyrics, what I didn't expect was the response it would get. The only response I figured I would get was people telling me its uncomfortable to listen to, which I would be completely sympathetic to. There are albums I find to be brilliant but hit entirely too close to home to enjoy often (Sufjan Stevens' Carrie & Lowell as well as Mount Eerie's A Crow Looked at Me / Now Only). What ended up happening was it actually resonated with more people than any other record in our catalog. This was — and still is — the best possible outcome for something so tragic, but I wasn't and still am not prepared for the conversations I would end up having, day after day, with people who wanted to share their experiences with me. It's really upsetting being bombarded with tragic stories. My heart breaks for people on a damn near daily basis from the stories that come in. I'm too much of a coward to ever really respond to the ones that come in via DM on social media, but the ones I get in person take the wind out of me every time. I remain polite and offer condolences and advice if I have any (I really don't). This song was born out of that feeling.
This song was originally recorded the year before as a trial run for working with Ross Robinson. We brought in a song to feel out if we had any chemistry with a track we felt was 95 percent finished and damn were we wrong. Ross added about a minute to this song and really took it in a direction we never would have and gave it such a wild life we just knew he was the right choice. This song is in the same wheelhouse concept wise as "I'll Be Your Host," but I was still tiptoeing around my feelings 'cuz I didn't know if I could properly express how it was really eating me alive without seeming ungrateful. Lines like "I'm a vessel for last contact" and "I'm not comfortable, I rarely am" were my ways of touching on this before fully committing. The little dub break in this song is a highlight of any song we've ever been a part of.
The final song is an open letter. It's brief. It's my life post 2016 in a nutshell. Elliot played piano and wrote the whole intro musically. The most important takeaway is that I don't have anything figured out, I'm just existing and everyone should be reminded that it's OK to not be OK. It's OK to need support. Since recording it, I have learned it's also OK to ask for help if you aren't getting it.