Too Close to Touch
Haven't Been Myself


3.5
great

Review

by Toondude USER (72 Reviews)
September 23rd, 2016 | 98 replies


Release Date: 2016 | Tracklist

Review Summary: While Too Close To Touch's attempt at a darker, more personal record does give us a few excellent gems, it doesn't make the album any better than it could've been.

Too Close To Touch’s 2015 debut was somewhat of a rare oddity among the huge crowd of modern alternative rock. Unlike most bands that were either too afraid to experiment (Hands Like Houses) or let themselves become full-blown generic pop-rock (Emarosa, Sleeping With Sirens), Nerve Endings showcased a group that actually embraced their pop influences while building a solid post-hardcore foundation. The result was a near perfect blend of the two genres which in turn gave us one of the most enjoyable rock records of 2015. And keep in mind; this was a debut album, not something that the band had attempted before, not including the self-titled EP. They were able to find their sound the very first time, something that very few bands seem to be able to accomplish nowadays.

However, Haven’t Been Myself is far from the poppier, more upbeat style than what was found in the debut. Instead, it’s almost the exact opposite, with more screams, more emotional and personal lyrical content, and of course that typical “darker sounding” style that more and more bands seem to be falling into lately. This gives us two major problems: first is that Too Close To Touch ultimately lose their uniqueness. Their blend of post-hardcore and pop rock was what made them stand out and memorable in the first place. Examples being songs like ‘Translate’ and ‘Modern Love Affair’ are bland and boring, feeling rehashed from other bands that have used the same tropes more successfully. The second problem is that we lose much of the catchy hooks that were found on Nerve Endings. ‘Sympathy’ is a rather weak opener with mid-tempo pacing and a lack of energy for the first two-thirds of the song. Guitarists Mason Marble and Thomas Kidd also feel somewhat uninspired with repeated guitar melodies and riffs in songs like ‘Crooked Smile’ while Travis Moore’s bass guitar is constantly overshadowed by the rather overbearing guitar mixing throughout most of the album.

That’s not to say that this has nothing worth listening too. There are moments where the heavier elements actually work in the band’s favor on tracks like ‘What A Shame’ and lead single ‘What I Wish I Could Forget’. Even so, the album still contains some of that upbeat style in ‘Inside Voices’ and ‘Miss Your Face’, which helps give us the notion that the band haven’t entirely turned away from their roots. Production elements are also a big plus on spotlighting certain aspects, particularly on Keaton Pierce’s vocal performance who is an absolute powerhouse throughout most of the record. While his screaming could definitely use a little more work, he still manages to bring out a huge amount of emotion, especially on the slower-paced ‘The Art of Eye Contact’. Meanwhile drummer Kenneth Downey’s performance manages to keep up an energetic pace throughout most of the album and is by far the most improved member of the group as shown on ‘For Your Sake’. Then there’s the closer ‘Eiley’ in which the heavier, darker mood finally pays off, with everyone finally working together to create what is easily the best song off the record, possibly even the best song that they’ve made in general.

Haven’t Been Myself is a standard example that going “darker” doesn’t always mean that your album is going to be better. If anything, it makes for a more predictable experience. While there are certainly notable improvements in terms of certain performances, there’s nothing particularly groundbreaking. That being said, there’s still a handful of great material to be found on this album and is sure to please most listeners regardless. Hopefully this is just a slight dip in quality into the huge potential that Too Close To Touch already set for themselves last year, and that they’ll continue on the right path for the next record.



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user ratings (94)
Chart.
3.7
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Toondude10
September 23rd 2016


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

constructive feedback appreciated



teetering between a 3-3.5 for this. mildly disappointed in this, but there's still some great material on here

Digging: Devin Townsend - Empath

NorwichScene
September 23rd 2016


2831 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

3 max. I've played it twice and can't remember a single song standing out.. meh

Digging: Numenorean - Adore

LoLifant
September 23rd 2016


1517 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not sure on my rating yet but guys do yourself a favour and never look up any live performance by these guys on Youtube or wherever. It destroys the illusion, they are a 100% studio band.

NorwichScene
September 23rd 2016


2831 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

Doesn't bode well for their future then

LoLifant
September 23rd 2016


1517 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's kinda no surprise since he would have to be one of the best vocalists ever to hit all those high notes, which is quite unlikely. He barely hits any note tbh.

sempiturtle
September 23rd 2016


1531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Nice review, I'll probably write one of my own to justify this rating.



Oh and I saw these guys at Warped this year and the vocalist was pretty damn good. Yes, he did tend to scream some of the higher notes rather than sing/belt them but he didn't do the "point the mic at the crowd" bullshit at all.

Ebola
September 23rd 2016


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Kinda torn on this one; the hooks are weaker, but the production is a lot better imo. More bass, less squeaky clean.

I saw them live last year and didn't think they were particularly bad. Not the best live band I've ever seen, but certainly respectable enough.

LoLifant
September 23rd 2016


1517 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I watched several videos of different performances (most were Warped as well) and he sounded "almost okay" at best on some occassions. Of course it might be bad luck that only those videos were uploaded but meh probability and stuff..

AsleepInTheBack
September 23rd 2016


5952 Comments


solid review man. A couple of things: [fixed]

Ebola
September 23rd 2016


3553 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the summary feels a little clunky/awkward [2] Something concise along the lines of "darker isn't always better" would be much more effective,

Solid review though.

Toondude10
September 23rd 2016


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah that summary was a work in progress, hopefully I fixed it now

TooManyFriends
September 23rd 2016


3016 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

this is a minor improvement over the first, still pretty generic HLH worship though. last track is intense though, it brings it up like .5 by itself.

LoLifant
September 23rd 2016


1517 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Eiley is about the singers little sister that passed away last year at the age of 3. Now that you know that listen to it again and if you don't get the feels throw youself from a cliff.

sempiturtle
September 23rd 2016


1531 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The vocals on Miss Your Face are kinda awesome.

SteakByrnes
September 23rd 2016


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I haven't listened to this yet, but I thought that their debut was near perfect. Hopefully I like this just as much

GreyShadow
September 23rd 2016


3002 Comments


i'm feelin a 3 kinda just for Eiley and Art of Eye Contact though. I wish Eiley was the only track with screams so it would stand out even more. Still I'd say, Until I Collapse was better

Digging: La Dispute - Panorama

Toondude10
September 23rd 2016


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

This is basically an entire album of different versions of 'Hell To Pay' for the most part.



They should've brought Telle Smith back for some of the screams tbh

LoLifant
September 23rd 2016


1517 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Until I Collapse is an average pop-song compared to Eiley.

SteakByrnes
September 23rd 2016


14569 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Pretty Little Thing and Nerve Endings were my jams from the debut

Toondude10
September 23rd 2016


13827 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

yeah Eiley is arguably their best song yet imo



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