TOUCH – Tomorrow Never Comes (2021) *EXCLUSIVE*
Mark Mangold (keys, DRIVE, SHE SAID, AMERICAN TEARS) finally did it: he reunited the original line up of TOUCH for a new album, “Tomorrow Never Comes“. TOUCH was one of the first Pomp AOR bands and their self-titled debut LP is a must have.
Well, fast forward 2021 TOUCH didn’t lost the magic of their legendary first album; bombastic melodies and amazing arrangements as well as a stunning artwork by Stan Decker. Wow!
It’s time that Mangold gets the recognition he clearly deserves, at least among AOR circles. “Tomorrow Never Comes” not only is ‘the comeback album of the year’ ; it’s one of the best overall.
Here’s a reunion indeed few ever expected to see. Touch are most famous to the wider world as the band that opened the first ever Monsters of Rock at Download in 1980.
Very little has been seen or heard of them in the intervening 40 years. A second album was recorded but only eventually saw the light of day as a second disc on a reissue in the late Nineties which was one of Frontiers Records earliest releases.
Then in 2014 a Touch line-up played the farewell Firefest as a one-off show, though the effect was lessened by the fact there was just one original member in keyboard wizard Mark Mangold – the only one to have much of a profile after Touch, initially as a songwriter of Michael Bolton’s great AOR work, then with his own projects, like Flesh & Blood, The Sign and most notably Drive, She Said.
So it was with a sense of disbelief that I heard the news a year or two back that all four of the original band’s members – including guitarist Craig Brooks, bassist Doug Howard and drummer Glenn Kithcart- had reunited, which sounded too good to be true until this album dropped.
Unsurprisingly a keyboard intro heralds the opening title track which is quite piano-driven with flashes of lead guitar work. Up tempo and melodic, its nevertheless a fairly low key opener but those three way vocals that defined the Touch sound intertwine beautifully.
‘Let It Come’ is also vintage Touch, overly so as it rather cheekily reprises the intro to their best-known song ‘Don’t You Know What Love Is’. The vocals of Craig Brooks, the highest pitched of the trio, sound remarkably good supported by backing vocals, with fine keyboard and guitar solos.
But then comes an indication that this comeback is very much not playing it safe. ‘Swan Song’ is nearly eight minutes and far proggier in nature – there is not much of a hook or chorus and large parts are instrumental with the band, Mark in particular going off on some freeform jamming that will appeal to fans of ELP or early period Styx and Kansas.
‘Fire and Ice’ is classic Touch with Craig’s soaring vocals and classic synth and organ work in the middle. They then change tack slightly again with a pair of mellow, classy songs with the emphasis on vocals and instrumental excess reined in, in ‘Trippin Over Shadows’ which I am pretty sure has Doug singing, and ‘Frozen Ground’, led off by Mark. The arrangements are brilliant and on the latter the harmony vocals shine, though there is still room for some vintage parping synths.
As a complete contrast ‘Lil Bit of Rock n Roil’ rocks out with a shuffle rhythm that sits somewhere between ‘Tie Your Mother Down’ and ‘Race With The Devil’, complete with Sweet–type helium-filled backing vocals on the chorus and a guitar and synth battle that outdoes vintage Deep Purple. Best of all, the sense of fun they must have had making it really shines through.
Vocals are also shared on ‘Glass’ which is a grower and one of the more experimental on the album, as is ‘Scream at the Sky’, a long moody piece with some nice guitar work from Craig.
The penultimate number ‘’Wanna Hear You Say’ may be my favourite on the whole album, pompy AOR bliss with vocals soaring over a bank of harmonies Boston-style, and more classic keyboard work, the brittle synths reminiscent of late seventies bands like Roadmaster and Zon.
‘Run for Your Life’, though not quite in the same league with a somewhat repetitive ‘its all too much chorus’ ends the album with more trademark synth solos.
Touch are back in full form. There’s a lot for early fans, classic Pomp AOR it is, but also rarely formularised and even experimental in places, always with the ‘Touch style’. And We love it.
While nothing will ever compare to the majesty of the debut this is a better comeback than even their most fanatical fans could have realistically imagined.
Only at 0dayrox
1. Tomorrow Never Comes
2. Let It Come
3. Swan Song
4. Try To Let Go
5. Fire & Ice
6. Trippin’ Over Shadows
7. Frozen Ground
8. Lil’ Bit Of Rock N Roll
10. Scream At The Sky
11. Wanna Hear You Say
12. Run For Your Life
Craig Brooks: Guitars / Vocals
Mark Mangold: Keyboards / Vocals
Glenn Kithcart: Drums / Vocals
Doug Howard: Bass / Vocals