At the forefront of melodic hardcore is Touché Amoré, and their fourth record is just on the horizon. Stage Four is the follow up to 2013's Is Survived By, and it's bound to be something special - it's a very personal record for vocalist Jeremy Bolm, who lost his mother to cancer in 2014. This album will be full of those emotions he experienced.
The band has shared the song 'Skyscrapers' from the record. The song is an ode to New York City, in all of the most heartbreaking of ways. It's not a very intense track as far as its sonic soundscape goes; it begins with rolling drums and reverberating clean guitars. Jeremy Bolm and guest vocalist Julien Baker sing somberly as moments of guitar punch through. Bolm is the real focus of the song, despite the female guest. While the harmony is interesting, it's more captivating to hear the longing in Bolm's voice as he signs "To live there, under the lights" is its own gift.
The song builds up to a big climax at the end, harmonies of vocals and screams ultimately taking it out with a bigger instrumental complete with crash cymbals and tremolo guitar sounding high in the background. Bolm's clean vocals make this track sound like a heavy Ariel Pink song. It's a bit odd, but it's not the vocals that make the track. The meaning sends it a lot further.
The music video makes the song even more real and somber. It pictures Bolm traveling through New York pushing around an empty wheelchair, seeing sights in black and white. As the song climaxes, all of the color starts to surround the scenes, as if it's an acceptance. I like to think the empty wheelchair is a symbol for his mother, and that makes this song being sung from her perspective - Julien Baker's female vocals are his mother singing the message too. Perhaps she always had dreams of living in the big city and living under all of the grand lights, but passed away before that came true. Bolm walking through the city with the empty wheelchair is his way of finally taking her there. The way the color changes from the beginning to the end shows how this sad activity of pretending his mother is there with him becomes more of a comforting thing, as if he could do one more thing for his mother to make her happy.
Touché Amoré knows how to play with your emotions. This song is one of the few cases where I can say that the music video makes the song even better. As for the track itself, I'm not the biggest fan but I like the message and the story is sweet. Stage Four seems to be building up to be a very emotional record; anger, sadness, regret... we can't say for certain, but the prospect of it is exciting. Nothing drives music better than emotion, and the loss of Jeremy Bolm's mother is bound to be channeled through his music. It's going to be a big record.
Rating: 78 / 100
Music Video Rating: 90 / 100