Touch reunite with the original lineup intact, but it’s been forty plus years since 1980, how difficult is it to create a repeat performance after all these years?
Written by: gdmonline
ALBUM: Tomorrow Never Comes
LABEL: Escape Music
SERIAL: ESM 351
COUNTRY OF ORIGIN:
LINEUP: Craig Brooks – guitars, vocals * Mark Mangold – keyboards, vocals * Doug Howard – bass, vocals * Glenn Kithcart – drums, vocals
TRACK LISTING: 01 Tomorrow Never Comes * 02 Let It Come * 03 Swansong * 04 Try To Let Go * 05 Fire And Ice * 06 Trippin’ Over Shadows * 07 Frozen Ground * 08 Lil Bit Of Rock N Roll * 09 Glass * 10 Scream At The Sky * 11 Wanna Hear You Say * 12 Run For Your Life
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Touch are one of the most talasmanic bands from the glory days even if they only released one album at the time. Quite why this is remains a mystery all these years later, though many will disagree with my assessment. I don’t think we need to regurgitate their history. Glory Daze trainspotters will already know their story.
So it becomes one of the great comeback stories in late 2020 as news of their return filtered through the newswires. Touch reunite with the original lineup intact, but it’s been forty plus years since 1980, how difficult is it to create a repeat performance after all these years? Unlike the album title, tomorrow has definitely come.
In more recent times, it’s been only Mark Mangold and Doug Howard who have been active musically with both American Tears and Stun Leer being the most notable. Brooks has written material and played drums on projects such as Malisha and White Vision back in the 80’s and 90’s while Kithcart’s involvement has been minimal.
There’s good value for money as the album clocks in at 61 minutes covering twelve tracks. Mark Mangold’s keyboards are vital in the overall makeup of the Touch sound, so too Craig Brooks input, hitting those high notes and providing the guitar polish.
‘Tomorrow Never Comes’ is the perfect entre, twinkly synths leading off, the song building nicely, the vocal tenor by Craig at the end is a highlight. ‘Let It Come’ definitely sounds like ‘Don’t You Know What Love Is’, especially in the guitar department, thick guitar riffs, plus those welcome (or unwelcome as the case may be) gang chants.
‘Swansong’ is the longest track here (7.46), introduced by ethereal synths which is soon overtaken by Brooks’ prominent guitar rhythms and vocal power. Mark assumes the drivers seat mid-song with a flurry of prog like passages. As to be expected, it’s very epic. One of the highlights so far.
‘Try To Let Go’ is a heavier sounding track, with growling guitar parts, the keys really only kick in on the chorus, the rest of the time the space (other than the rhythm guitar) is sparse. Wasn’t keen on the vocal chants unfortunately. ‘Fire And Ice’ I kinda liked, though the overall tone and mix was a bit loud and bright. Very unusual arrangement.
By comparison, ‘Trippin’ Over Shadows’ was a different proposition altogether, restrained though still highly melodic with an array of buzzy synths and sweeps making its presence felt. The piano/bell like tones are an early feature on ‘Frozen Ground’, the track itself doesn’t really get sailing until chorus time, but when it does it’s like Touch of old.
The lads kick up the heels on ‘Lil Bit Of Rock N Roll’, a storming rocker with the trademark Touch vocal choruses. The guitar tone though wasn’t great, one word: ghastly. Big ambient piano splashes introduces ‘Glass’, this sounds like an American Tears track, seemingly dominated by keyboards and incessant vocal chants. Please stop. Lol.
Getting into the back-end of the album now, ‘Scream At The Sky’ appears to be heading down a better path, a smoother sound, though certain elements don’t gel that well. The overdriven lead vocal being one example. ‘Wanna Hear You Say’ saves one of best tracks till last, I think this is the sound that Touch fans wanted to hear from the outset, but it’s the exception rather than the norm. ‘Run For Your Life’ tries to catch onto the coattails of the previous track, it’s very anthem sounding without being an anthem, if that makes sense.
No doubting the melodic rock community are enthused by the return of these New York legends. Yes it’s been forty plus years in the making, Touch adding their name to the roster of yesteryear bands that have risen from an epoch in time long gone and continue on again as if 1980 was just a few hours ago.
The album is a potpourri of ideas, when it works it sounds great, but for everything else the overall assessment is fair to middling. Musically from my perspective, ‘Tomorrow Never Comes’ is a good album with some definite highlights such as ‘Swansong’ and ‘Wanna Hear You Say’. However, it would seem that debut still remains an untouchable slab o’ plastic, but personally I’m happy that Touch are no longer MIA.
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