Touché Amoré Is Survived By: Revived (Remixed / Remastered)
|19th January 2024
|Neon Orange Vinyl
It's not hyperbole to state that Touché Amoré's third album Is Survived By is the band's most pivotal album. Released 10 years ago on September 24th, 2013 via Deathwish Inc., Is Survived By tackles the complicated nature of leaving a lasting legacy and the uncertainty that surrounds that; ultimately resulting in a record about learning to find the validation and love within one’s self. Produced by the legendary Brad Wood (Sunny Day Real Estate, Liz Phair, mewithoutYou), the recording sessions were a lesson in growth for the Los Angeles quintet - vocalist Jeremy Bolm, guitarists Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens, bassist Tyler Kirby, and drummer Elliot Babin - as the band transformed from a group of individuals who play hardcore songs to the established headlining act that Touché Amoré is today.
Is Survived By received critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, The A.V. Club, The Needle Drop, and more - resulting in the album being 13th highest rated album of 2013 per Metacritic. It was also the band's first record to chart on the U.S. Billboard 200, peaking at 85. But most importantly, Is Survived By is beloved by fans new and old. "When the reviews started to come out for it - for example, Pitchfork was really kind about it - I was shocked," explains Bolm. "I really didn't know how well we did. And then when it suddenly had such a positive response, I can't explain how taken aback I was."
For the past decade it's been bittersweet as the band has felt less than satisfied with the record's sound - a result of the band's overthinking and underpreparedness.
So a 10 year anniversary felt like the perfect time to tap Wood and Emily Lazar (the same team behind Stage Four) to remix and remaster Is Survived By. "I've always had a really hard time with the way this record sounds," explains Bolm. "I've unfortunately been oversharing and vocal about that for a number of years, but when we went to Brad to remix it, the main direction that I gave him was to make this sound more like Stage Four, and I think he killed it. He found that middle ground to where everything now compliments each other and there’s far more clarity overall."
No longer does Is Survived By feel claustrophobic as if each layer of sound is fighting one another. Instead, Bolm's signature vocals flow in unison with Stevens and Steinhardt's creative, thoughtful guitar work, while the stellar rhythm section of Kirby and Babin provide a fervent punch to each song. Side A favorites like "Just Exist" and "DNA" hit with a new intensity, while the lusciousness within "Harbor" feels more defined. The Side B tracks may benefit the most - the Interpol influence shines throughout "Kerosene", and the slow burn build on "Non Fiction" is heard with more definition than ever before. There is a new found sense of brightness throughout the album's twelve tracks without losing any of the character from the original recordings. The lessons Bolm has learned over the years were also applied to the remaster. "I do feel a lot better about it," he says. “Everything kicks and everything pumps on this remix and remaster and I feel like 'Wow.' I almost feel like I'm hearing these songs for the first time again."
It wouldn't be an official Touché Amoré project without elaborate and immersive packaging courtesy of guitarist Nick Steinhardt. The now iconic artwork of the band standing in the shadow of the Los Angeles skyline is vibrant as ever, with 5 expanded colorways featuring a different essay about the album from each band member + a new "wildfire" orange with liner notes containing references to that era. Essays from Balance and Composure's Jon Simmons, Drug Church and Self Defense Family's Patrick Kindlon, producer Brad Wood, and more. Touché Amoré always give the full 100% to the visual medium as it does to the music, and this 10th anniversary reissue is no different.
Is Survived By is a cathartic record about wanting to be heard and understood and how you'll be remembered. A perfect snapshot of understanding your past and looking towards the future. It's why this record remains incredibly cherished by so many listeners, achieving that legacy it set out for a decade ago. “When I hear people say that this is their favorite record, it honestly makes me feel really, really good because it reminds me that my ears are different from the listeners," Bolm reveals. "That's important to remember. So to have something that you have felt down about, be praised, I mean, you can't ask for anything better.”