Singles Club: Touché Amoré – “Palm Dreams”

Touche Amore

I’m lucky. I’ve never lost anyone close to me during my adult life. My grandfather died when I was very young and my six-year-old brain really didn’t understand what was going on. I’ve never gone through what Jeremy Bolm has. The Touché Amoré frontman lost his mother to cancer in the fall of 2014 and much, if not all of his band’s upcoming new album, Stage Four, revolves around processing her death and remembering their life together. The album’s first single, “Palm Dreams,” is a soaring piece of post-hardcore that showcases the continual growth of the band’s songwriting while Bolm attempts to learn even more about his mother even after her passing. In the song premiere’s accompanying article, Bolm tells NPR that “’Palm Dreams’ was written around the realization that I never had a full understanding why my mother moved from Nebraska to California in the ‘70s.”

The driving guitar tones weaving in and out (led by Nick Steinhardt and Clayton Stevens) set the tone as Bolm’s frenetic rasp recounts moving his mother’s things out of her home (“I dug through forty year/all alone.”). What follows is the band’s beautiful blend of melody with hardcore, as Bolm incorporates some clean vocals over the track’s haunting pre-chorus (buoyed by the band’s rhythm section of Elliot Babin and Tyler Kirby). Throughout “Palm Dreams” you can hear all the band’s various influences (from The National to AFI, with a touch of shoegaze) being blended with Touché’s brand of frantic hardcore.

But it’s Bolm’s lyrics that eloquently paint the setting on “Palm Dreams” (“Like driving 65 on the 5 at 5” invokes a dream-like sequence during the track’s quietest moment). Chills form towards the song’s bridge when Babin’s drum clash along Bolm’s declaration that he’s “bereaved come every ocean breeze.” Bolm has never been shy about sharing his feelings in lyrics past, but “Palm Dreams” portray the vocalist at his most personal and vulnerable stage – they’re devastatingly poignant, hinging on the anguish of questions unasked and answers that’ll never come. Touché Amoré continue to outdo themselves with each release, as “Palm Dreams” is just the first taste of what should be one of the most important albums of 2016.

I know one day I’ll have to go through the same horrible pain Jeremy Bolm have gone through and it’s comforting to know that this song will exist as a grieving outlet for myself and many others. “Palm Dreams” urges us all to find out everything we can about the ones we love before they’re gone.

Singles Club is a semi-weekly feature in which I feature and discuss the best, most interesting, or most talked about single of the week.