Review by Shannon Shumaker
Too Close To Touch’s newest release, Haven’t Been Myself is simply the perfect follow-up to their 2015 album, Nerve Endings. Within seconds of the album’s first song, “Sympathy,” it’s easy to tell that Too Close To Touch have not lost their signature sound that was established on their last release, but thankfully, they don’t play it safe. Haven’t Been Myself is a perfect natural progression while showcasing quite a bit of growth, and that much is clear within only one song.
“Sympathy” couldn’t be a more perfect opener, starting off dark and slow with quivering, emotional vocals before exploding into a bright, beautiful chorus. The opening track easily showcases the band’s strong points, and the songs that follow only expand on that already powerful and unique sound. “Crooked Smile,” which follows “Sympathy” offers listeners an explosive singalong worthy song right off the bat. Much like the opening track, this song feels like an easy transition from the band’s previous material while really growing into their sound. “Crooked Smile” and the following “What I Wish I Could Forget” simply take that fire and passion and multiply it.
“Translate” is where listeners will really get their first taste of the new sounds on Haven’t Been Myself. While the energy takes a breather, the vocals really have a chance to shine. The transition and growth between “Translate” and the following song, “Miss Your Face” is flawless. Although it remains relatively slow, “Miss Your Face” feels very big and flows very well from explosive choruses into softer, acoustic guitar work. Then comes “The Art Of Eye Contact,” easily one of the more diverse songs on the album. The R&B influence in this song is apparent, giving it a very slow and sensual vibe, and much like “Translate,” it stops the album from becoming stagnant or safe.
Easily one of the strongest aspects of Haven’t Been Myself is the heartbreakingly beautiful vocal work coupled with personal, emotional and poetic lyricism. Layered on top of moody instrumentals, it gives the album a very eerie and dark vibe, something that will stick with you long after you finish listening to it.
The only downside on Haven’t Been Myself comes in the significantly slower second half, which takes a step away from the explosive beginning, but where it lacks in high energy it makes up for in emotion, strong instrumentals and spectacular vocal work. “Modern Love Affair” is heartbreakingly beautiful, where the following track, “Inside Voices” shines right off the bat with haunting keys.
Bringing things to an emotional and powerful close is the heartbreaking final track, “Eiley.” Although the subject matter is incredibly personal, chronicling the pain of losing a little sister, it also makes “Eiley” the strongest song on the album, as vocalist Keaton Pierce begs, “Take me instead.” The final track on Haven’t Been Myself is Too Close To Touch at their best, even if they feel at their worst. As a whole, Haven’t Been Myself provides listeners with many of the elements that they first fell in love with, while also showcasing quite a bit of growth from Too Close To Touch and giving you a glimpse inside of their world. The entirety of the album is driven by heartbreak and pain, but as the band bears their souls, you’ll feel closer to them than ever.
Listen to "Eiley"
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