Torres’ blend of rock has always been a unique mix of big chord numbers crossed over with tracks that circulate vaguely and demand you wait for the pay off. Whilst many things have changed for Torres’ new album, much about that statement stays the same.
Opener “Tongue Slapping Your Brains Out” is a perfect example. The verses drift over dissonant guitar and bass lines whilst the chorus each time is more patriotic and rousing before the track bleeds off into a mesh of the two. In many ways, it’s like Torres often want’s to create an anti track, but they are always at the point where repeated listens lets you in on the goodness. “Skim” is the exact opposite. Stalking bass lines that sound like they should have been lifted from a horror movie giveway to lush but stern statements for choruses. In some ways the track reminds me of early St Vincent, with its spasmodic guitar solo pieces popping in and out, but Torres vocal is stronger, deeper and more defiant. Title track “Three Futures” continues that comparison with a push towards more electronic percussion, riffs that encircle your brain. It feels lazy to do so but at the same time there’s a nuance that just chimes at these two being guitar sisters.
Lyrics are something that Torres isn’t afraid to have fun with as in “Righteous Woman” she declares “I am not a righteous woman, I’m more of an ass man” which has many thoughts and connotations to it, whilst making me giggle. It also features some of the best riff rock sections of the album that you want to mosh to. After the electro rock mid tempo “Greener Stretch”, which is one that has all the pieces slotted together to be a quintessential signature track, comes the other headbanger “Helen in the Woods”. It tells a tale of a psycho ex and is a rare moment of trashing out and letting it all hang on the album.
Compared to previous albums, this album has more synth and electronica instruments and samples in it. “Bad Baby Pie” is where it reaches its synth peak with the pulsating keyboards taking the back bone of the melody and allowing the guitars to wax and wane over the top. Initially it’s a simple track, but Torres’ loves to switch up a drum snare or lyric positioning and so what is a 4/4 track feels nothing like it. It’s something she’s done throughout her career and it makes her stand out. More subtle is the lush and subdued “Marble Focus” which is a real standout for its empathy and restraint. It’s rolling chords, soft vocals and gently sway show a different side to Torres that isn’t shown elsewhere on the album.
“Concrete Ganesha” is another favourite from the album. It’s dirty, detuned and harks back to her Sprinter album in terms of tone and pace. It’s more raucous and unhinged whereas most of the album is happy to sit playing with a little bit of darkness, this ones more of an eclipse. It all pushes into an eight minute spacious closer. “To Be Given a Body” takes a single chord and spreads eight minutes of beats, weird embellishments, organ effects and vocals over the top of it. It’s almost like a space hymn in places and ends the album far lighter and freer than most of the oppressive and darker toned music that came before it.
By adding in lots of synths and taking the focus away from pure rock, Torres’ interesting vocal and song structures continue to shine, although at times I did yearn for something that would grab me by the balls and swing me around. This is a grower, not a shower.
Recommended Track : Concrete Ganesha