For Fans Of
A great hallmark of punk and hardcore, split CDs are what’s best and what’s worst about the genre. At worst the sounds of the two bands jar terribly, making you wonder why they bothered at all. At best, however, splits can provide a unique opportunity for bands to promote themselves to untapped audiences, maybe save themselves some money and effort, and at times even collaborate with outstanding results. Los Angeles hardcore outfit Touché Amoré released a split earlier this year with La Dispute, a release which was one of the best split records I’ve ever heard. This record, “Smoke Signals and Hideaways / Hand Me Downs and Cobwebs” is TA’s second split of the year, again proving their worth as one of the USA’s most exciting up-and-comers. Connecticut punks Make Do And Mend who released their debut full-length "End Measured Mile" this year also shine on this release.
Touché Amoré’s offerings unfortunately lack the melodic element which complimented their tracks on the La Dispute split, rather opting for the rawness of previous material such as their demo 7" and debut full-length “…To The Beat Of A Dead Horse”. “Smoke Signals” brings the familiar intensity of TA’s music, overflowing with discordant riffs and frontman Jeremy Bolm’s awesome vocals. The band’s second track “Hideaways” is stronger, another fast-paced emotional number that fades out from an urgent drumbeat alongside Bolm’s furious vocals to a simple, slightly underwhelming riff.
Make Do And Mend provide a refreshing contrast to the intensity of Touché Amoré, their heartfelt brand of punk rock in many respects overshadowing TA’s efforts. Their first track “Hand Me Downs” is an upbeat, fast number which oozes punk urgency and emotion. MDAM’s “Cobwebs” is a solid punk rock anthem, the riffs and vocals of which resonate strongly of Against Me! or Rise Against. This track encapsulates what’s great about punk music – confident riffs, intelligent lyrics and heartfelt but ballsy vocals. The awesome line “no matter the words I say this confusion is my only friend” will no doubt be stuck in your head for days.
This record is a fairly respectable effort from both Touché Amoré and Make Do And Mend. The main issue here is that this release lacks any cohesion. TA’s tracks aren’t the best that they’ve ever released, while MDAM offer two excellent punk anthems. Definitely worth checking out, but by comparison to “Searching For A Pulse…”, this release is a little disappointing.
1. Touche Amore – Smoke Signals
2. Touche Amore – Hideaways
3. Make Do And Mend – Hand Me Downs
4. Make Do And Mend – Cobwebs