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ATP! Album Review: Pianos Become the Teeth/Touché Amoré - Split EP

With critically-acclaimed 2011 albums under their belts, the news that Pianos Become the Teeth and Touché Amoré were collaborating for a split release got a lot of people very excited.

Such is the quality contained here that it feels wrong talking about one song before the other, but I flipped a coin and TA's 'Gravity, Metaphorically' can go first.

Much has been made of the fact that the song is longer than two minutes (unheard of for a TA track). Only a handful of tracks on last album Parting the Sea Between Brightness and Me hung around for more than 90 seconds, but if you’re like me and listen to it as a whole the fact that this new song is longer makes negligible difference.

Sure, if you want to pick out specific tracks then having four awesome minutes will always trump two, but if you listen to the album in full then the shifts in tempo and dynamic are just as evident as they are in this one track.

None of which detracts from the quality of the new song at all. The delivery is a little raspier on what is probably one of the band’s heaviest ever songs, but it’s vintage TA.

As you’d expect, the lyricism is intelligent and emotional, and the end refrain of “At least I tried” is sure to find an even sturdier voice live.

Something that is refreshing about both bands is the willingness and bravery to just cut everything out. The quiet interlude midway through 'Gravity, Metaphorically' lends weight to the heavier sections as calm waters give way to crashing waves.

Pianos Become the Teeth’s offering ‘Hiding’ is even more impressive. Taking a more melodic approach than on previous material, 'Hiding' begins in considered fashion, smouldering towards a more aggressive second half.

Kyle Durfey’s opening vocals are piercing: “There’s no good in your eyes anymore/ And it makes you want to drive home/ Drunk and alone.”

Durfey has established himself as one of the most emotionally impressive lyricists in the genre, and his softer approach here chills the bones with its rawness.

The song moves closer to PBTT's traditional screamo style as the song progresses, always poised somewhere between beauty and all-out attack. It’s a stunningly moving track and let’s all hope this is the direction they will take moving forward.

Both bands display their consummate ability to mix both ends of the post-hardcore spectrum. Each track is nuanced and emotionally charged.

These are simply two of the most exciting bands anywhere in the rock world at the moment, and I for one hope their next LPs can match the quality here.


James Tremain

PBTT/TA split is out now via Deathwish Inc/Topshelf Records.

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