Too Close To Touch
When we last checked in on Epitaph’s smoothest of post-hardcore darlings, Kentucky’s Too Close To Touch had released quite a successful introductory EP. The band harnessed a sound that mixed aggressive alt/rock with hyper-melodic post-hardcore. References to I the Mighty, Emarosa, and Sleeping with Sirens help guide would-be listeners, but there’s something startlingly fresh about Too Close To Touch. I’d hesitate to call the band completely unique, but they perfectly straddle the line between familiarity and adding their own twist. The band has found the right mix of insanely catchy hooks and smarter-than-you-think music. This is pure pop bliss, and that’s what ultimately separates Too Close To Touch from its contemporaries.
In fact, while the self-titled EP served as a great introduction, almost all of the new songs on Nerve Endings up the ante, proving that the band’s potential has been realized. Conveniently (albeit disappointingly), three of the EP’s four tracks are on display here for easy comparison. While they all hold up reasonably well, they serve notice as to how Too Close To Touch has improved. “Perfect World” is a tad too bubblegum, whereas songs like “Someday” and “Pretty Little Thing” showcase improved songwriting and better choruses. For my money, you won’t hear a better hook than “Pretty Little Thing” all year; good luck getting it out of your head. Elsewhere, the heavier edge of EP tracks “The Deep End” and “Poisons” are overshadowed by one of the better uses of guest vocals in recent memory with “Hell To Pay”. The song’s honest discussion of abandonment are made heavier by the near-perfect alchemy at work. The track adeptly mixes one of album’s best hooks with a nice use post-hardcore muscle courtesy of The Word Alive’s Telle Smith. Interestingly enough, the only other track with a feature, “The Chase” (Sleeping With Sirens’ Kellin Quinn) is by far the weakest of the bunch.
Aside from the general complaint about three repeat tracks from the EP (and one weak track), Nerve Endings serves as notice that Too Close To Touch is here to stay. The album is a grower, in the sense that with each subsequent listen, the hooks and riffs will work their magic more effectively. Too Close To Touch has discovered how to improve upon an already winning formula. This is definitely a band to watch in 2015. (Nicholas Senior)