Touché Amoré & Joyce Manor’s Barry Johnson Cover Guided By Voices’ “Game Of Pricks”

George Clarke

Touché Amoré & Joyce Manor’s Barry Johnson Cover Guided By Voices’ “Game Of Pricks”

George Clarke

Californian post-hardcore warriors Touché Amoré make bruising, emotional music. Last year, for example, they released Lament, one of the year’s best albums. More recently, Touché have been covering other people’s tracks, which seems like a pretty good way to unwind after scraping their own souls. In July, frontman Jeremy Bolm sang lead on the great Two Minutes To Late Night version of the Pixies’ “Where Is My Mind.” Last month, Touché dropped their take on the Strokes’ “Hard To Explain.” And now, Touché have enlisted a friend, Joyce Manor leader Barry Johnson, to help out on their remake of an indie rock classic.

Today, Touché Amoré have shared a two-song Bandcamp single called Covers Vol. 1. It’s got “Hard To Explain” on the A-side. On the B-side, the band has taken on “Game Of Pricks,” the hooks-on-hooks lo-fi power-pop anthem from Guided By Voices’ 1995 album Alien Lanes. Put very simply, Touché Amoré’s cover kicks ass.

“Game Of Pricks” was already a great song, and it already buried its soaring melodies under layers of tape-hiss murk. With their version, Touché Amoré have kept the recording pristine, and they’ve turned the soaring melodies into raging catharsis. Jeremy Bolm’s melodic bellow and Barry Johnson’s shout fit together nicely, and the band translates the GBV riffage through their own crashing, majestic sound. Below, listen to the Touché Amoré cover and the Guided By Voices original.

In a Bandcamp message, Touché Amoré write:

When discussing songs to cover, everyone in the band submitted ideas, and “Game of Pricks” by Guided By Voices felt like it was in our wheelhouse.

Once in the studio, longtime friend and producer Alex Estrada proposed belting it out, negating the melody, and solving the problem of the song being out of Jeremy’s vocal range (a great suggestion). But upon listening back, it felt like there was missed opportunity.

Thinking about friends that shared love for GBV, Barry Johnson came to mind. The Touché Amoré and Joyce Manor relationship extends 10+ years, and we’ll seek out any excuse to collaborate with friends, so this was the perfect opportunity. Barry kindly agreed and knocked it out of the park.

The sound of our voices together brought a smile to our faces, and we hope it does the same for you!

Touché Amoré’s Covers Vol. 1 is out now at Bandcamp. Guided By Voices’ next album It’s Not Them. It Couldn’t Be Them. It Is Them! is out 10/22 on Rockathon Records.

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