Our new writer Laurel Palmer reviews the new split from modern hardcore stalwarts Pianos Become The Teeth and Touche Amore. Read on to see what she thought!
Pianos Become the Teeth and Touche Amore are two bands to which many choose to designate the screamo/post hardcore label. Over time the meaning of these labels has been diluted by the more conventional radio friendly/Warped Tour “hardcore” that overwhelms the genre. It is fitting that amidst the oversaturated pantheon of hardcore, these two diamonds in the rough have chosen to unite to offer us something truly special. To uncover why these bands are worthy of your time, look no further than their purer post hardcore roots, drawing influence from first wave genre heavyweights such as Orchid and Envy. This split sees the bands contribute a track each to create a short, but sweet helping of post hardcore goodness.
Pianos Become the Teeth’s “Hiding” is a significant departure from their usual material with the adoption of vocals that are cleaner and more melodic. While maintaining a vulnerable, sincere delivery, vocalist Kyle Durfey manages to convey his painfully honest and haunting lyrics in a manner that is palpable to the senses. The guitars set the tone for each line; sometimes lilting and sympathetic, other times channelling the slow boil of anger morphing into frustration and resentment. “Hiding” swells and lapses again and again, projecting a full spectrum of emotions before ending in a nine second silence – long enough to pause for reflection before the needle starts to drift. This may not be the usual fare for hardcore or even post-hardcore fans, but this track shares a very obvious common thread with side two of this split.
Touche Amore’s track “Gravity, Metaphorically” is over four minutes in length, which is uncharacteristically extensive for the band, but in that time manages to artfully span two different genres. The song begins with heavy, steadily driving percussion, stripped down yet powerful guitar work, and fluid bass lines. The vocals are impassioned but not quite harsh enough to be qualified as abrasive. Near the two minute mark the tone changes abruptly – transforming into a more fragile creature of melody punctuated by jangling guitar chords. The song gradually builds heaviness again- but this time the impact derives from raw emotion rather than galloping drums and crushing guitars. Touche Amore demonstrate their growth as a band on this split by starting out with their American Nightmare roots clearly manifest, but then seamlessly transitioning into something more reminiscent of the elegant post rock minimalism of Explosions in the Sky with added vocals. Even though it’s only one track, this won’t leave you wanting.
The split has been released digitally this week, with the physical copies set to come out on January 22 through Deathwish Inc. and Topshelf Records. And yes, one of the colour options for the vinyl edition is half electric blue/half gold… Needless to say, I am genuinely disappointed to have missed out on the preorder!