Friday, September 25, 2015

Torres : "Sprinter"

Torres is a name you shall soon know as Mackenzie Scott moves into the spotlight as she will be opening for Garbage on their 2015 tour. She is a singer songwriter, but comes from a more 90s direction where artists like Pj Harvey, were technically just singer song writers, but didn't let an acoustic guitar keep them from rocking. She has an androgynous voice that's to the gritty balls she can throw into it, rather than having to sound like a delicate flower. "New Skin" does get slightly more introspective and shows she is capable of applying dynamics to her husky alto. She exclaims she is a tired woman who in January will just be 23. Her lyrics have the right balance of  emotion, creating a snap shot into her life as it is draped in casual metaphor.

She drops down to a darker more hushed delivery for the more minimalist "Son, You Are No Island". It has a tense drone as the vocals add sardonic dramatics."A Proper Polish Welcome" keeps the album moving in a moodier direction. This song has a more electronic sounding beat, with various bits of ambiance mixed around the main vocals adding shading to the corners of the song. The "heavy hands" line has a very subtle hook to it. There is a Tom Petty like rambling to the verses of the title track. Things get a little quirky on "Cowboy Guilt" .  She has to Joni Mitchell like knack for melody that allows her to  pretty much sing around anything.However she needs a little more beneath her than the accompaniment "Ferris Wheel" give her. The sample type of introspection is giving more solid footing on "The Harshest Light". Her voice is lifted out of her lower alto register to provide a lighter step in the melody.

 Things are stripped down once again for "the Exchange" which closes the album. Lyrically very personal, the hushed folk ballad moves smoothly, but the albums strength comes from the darker and more interesting interplay between her huskier vocal approach and the more involved instrumentation. Not to say when she latches onto the melodies of the more folky final moments it is not compelling, I just prefer her darker or more rocking side, which if you are a regular reader here should come as no surprise. I'll give this album an 8.5 and look forward to hearing what she does in the future. If you are a fan of PJ Harvery, Liz Phair or any of the other female singer song writers from the 90s this will be a more modern step up your alley.

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