Touché Amoré released their newest album, “Stage Four,” in September, so I’m listening to it a little later than I should be. I’ve always been a fan of Touché Amoré’s unique sound, and was fortunate to see them at a small show a few years ago when they played in upstate New York. Touché Amoré is one of those bands whose lyrics stick with me, much like La Dispute or Pianos Become The Teeth. I expected no less from this album, despite some warnings on YouTube and Twitter from fans critical of the release.
“Stage Four” is dedicated to frontman Jeremy Bolm’s mother who passed away from cancer in 2014. Similar to other releases from the band, the album is full of emotional lyrics and rhythmic guitar riffs. The death of Bolm’s mother is the overarching theme, evident in every song, especially “Displacement,” “Eight Seconds,” “Palm Dreams,” and “Skyscraper.”
I applaud you if you can listen to the entire tracklist and not feel emotionally vulnerable when you finish. It’s not something you can listen to on the way to class or driving through town with your friends. “Stage Four” is honest, heavy, and full of corporeal distress. The first song, “Flowers and You” (my personal favorite from the album), draws you in and keeps you listening through each brutally honest (but relatable) track after, finally ending with “Skyscraper.”
I read it best in a review from Stereogum by Tom Breihan: “The concrete details in ‘Stage Four’ are what sticks with me. There’s that line about avoiding the voicemail, or the one about needing to skip track two every time he listens to ‘Benji’ because it hits too close to home.” “Stage Four” will leaving you sunken in your bed, too weak to move as Bolm spills his guts in your ears. This album is everything we’re too afraid to share when we grieve, so it’s comforting to hear it from someone else.
You can listen to (and purchase) “Stage Four” through Touché Amoré’s bandcamp or website, and check out the music video for “Skyscraper” below (or here).
What we're listening to.