American post hardcore, screamo kids Touche Amore from and confrontational American/British post punk outfit Self Defense Family have morphed together into a fifteen piece super group to create ‘Self Love’, a record which is the perfect hybrid of Self Defense Family’s cynical brutality and Touche Amore’s powerfully emotive style, underpinned by layers of melodic guitar and clashing percussive eruptions.
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- Self Love by Touche Amore / Self Defense Family
9/10 Robin Staff review, 12 March 2015
Get fifteen post-hardcore kids in the same room and get them making music together and you’ve got something quite special indeed: gruffcore. Touche Amore are known for making emotive skramz that harkens back to the days of the most universally adored teenage hardcore band, At The Drive-In, albeit with riffs that smack of contemporary emo and pop-punk resilience; here, though, they’re joined with the far more brutal sounds of Deathwish crew Self Defense Family, who have a grounding influence on all of Touche’s feelings. Let’s see how this pans out, shall we?
In all honesty, “Circa 95” is an absolute gem, bringing together an urgent riff with a crowning motif that changes hands vocally every two seconds -- “does it matter, does it matter, does it matter?”. The drumming propels the song forward constantly, allowing it to reach for that punk-lite chord sequence as the band swap vocalists like a boy band pumped to be on international television. The song eventually descends into the riotous gang vocals of a band in the double figures, as riffs whine and unwind from their starting place. If the idea of bringing these two bands together was to just make both of them sound bigger, then mission accomplished: this is huge hardcore.
‘Self Love’ has a b-side, too, though: “Low Beams” is a calmer song, drenched in pining chords and a shoe-shuffling drumbeat as Patrick Kindlon mutters, defeated, under it all. The song eventually bursts through into a framework of post-hardcore silliness, breaking into itself with minimal time to make things happen, which of course makes it all the better. It dissolves as it generates, dying out the way any slab of hardcore, pop or not, should: with a scream.
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