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Torres - Three Futures (Album Review)

Friday, 06 October 2017 Written by Huw Baines

“Lay off me would ya…I’m just tryin to take this new skin for a spin,” Mackenzie Scott sang on her second LP as Torres, ‘Sprinter’. The record was a leap forward from the bare-bones intensity of her self-titled bow and almost exclusively inhabited harsh, distorted rock shapes. Its new skin was a perfect fit.

‘Three Futures’, its follow up, is another exercise in shapeshifting. The visceral chunks of noise Scott wrung from her guitar on songs like Strange Hellos are gone, replaced by motorik beats and basslines that seize the hips. It’s not a surprise to discover that this album’s rhythm section was catered for first during recording.

The record is about embracing our bodies as vessels for life experience and Scott duly investigates both our emotional responses and the physical spaces we navigate.

She writes of hope as a fundamental, of anxiety at the prospect of euphoric highs ending. But she does so shortly after manspreading her way through Righteous Woman, a song also founded on imagery inspired by Panopticons.

That idea that we are always seen - in our day to day life by strangers, in greater detail by those who know us - resonates throughout. “There’s no unlit corner of the room I’m in,” Scott sings on Skim. It’s a track that utilises her Georgia drawl to elongate vowels in service of a surprising melody, something that’s a holdover from her earliest writing.

Skim is one of a number of moments here where a song’s underlying danceability is paired with something abstractly menacing. It’s a quirk that reaches a frantic peak on Helen in the Woods, a study of obsession that leaves the tracks after its protagonist is swept up in another person’s orbit. Perhaps after a dancefloor tryst during a song with an insistent beat, for example.

Both songs display the dexterity in Scott’s playing on ‘Three Futures’. She unfurls wiry, unusual guitar lines, always in service of different goals. That convention is repeated in her studies of characters and situations, which seek to encompass as much of the emotional spectrum as possible.

The record’s vital lyric anchors the title track: “You didn't know I saw three futures: one alone, and one with you. And one with the love I knew I'd choose." Our futures are unwritten, then, but we must walk into them in the knowledge that there could be joy or despair waiting for us. It’s a powerful conceit on which to hang a collection of songs, and one that Scott brings to life in thrilling fashion.

Torres Upcoming Tour Dates are as follows:

Tue November 07 2017 - MANCHESTER Soup Kitchen
Wed November 08 2017 - LONDON Dome
Thu November 09 2017 - BRIGHTON Haunt

Click here to compare & buy Torres Tickets at Stereoboard.com.

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