A hot mess of grungy alt-rock and impassioned artistic fire.
Each Torres album seems to get more and more experimental and artistic as she strays away from crunchy alt-rock. I’m here for it. ‘Thirstier’ comes off the back of the dreamy and haunting ghostly ‘Silver Tongue’ which I adored. It is as if Torres has pivoted a full 180. This is the heaviest, grungiest and most blazingly rocky she’s been to date. A rollercoaster of emotions – this album explores everyday love and how it can grow and change over time.
Sonically, ‘Thirstier’ is guitars upfront in a wall of energy. At times, everything is fighting for space in a chaotic surge of noise. Opening with ‘Are You Sleepwalking?’, the verses have an epileptic synth and vocal treatment that feel aggressively psychedelic. Then Torres explodes into a power chord stadium rock chorus. It’s that rush between chaos and clarity that becomes the audio theme across the album. For instance ‘Constant Tomorrowland’ is happy to stop like the song is over after each chorus. It’s as if the song, like the album, is searching for moments of wonder in the everyday churn.
Dirty, twangy grunge is also the guitar of the day. ‘Drive Me’ and ‘Don’t Go Puttin Wishes In My Head’ have setups that could work on big radio stations but Torres is clearly done with chasing the big prize. This album trades on that buzzing grit and determination, be that echoed vocals that snarl, buzzing guitars or basslines that straddle bass guitar and keyboard synth runs. It has a gnarly bite to it even when Torres drops in some breezy country twangs for fun in the background. Even when she wants to make a simple synth tinged anthem with ‘Hug From a Dinosaur’, it’s as if she’s pulling from a vintage stadium rock production that makes everything bleed into each other. The roughness really suits Torres’ vibe.
A few quieter songs do exist on the album and they absolutely slay. ‘Big Leap’ and title track ‘Thirstier’ trade on the hopeful lyrics, bitterly delivered by Torres. The title track is one of her best vocal performances in a song she’s put together as it lets her travel the octaves and display her powerful low register as well as her higher registered vulnerability. ‘Thirstier’ is one of my favourite love songs in the last decade.
The last third of the album takes this grimy grunge style and turns it to alt-pop instead. ‘Kiss the Corners’ is a drum machine and synth bass bop that lives in the contorted space of the synths and the ethereal delivery of the vocals. The last thing I expected from the album was a trippy synth dance middle eight but it’s here and it is stylish. ‘Hand in the Air’ takes those 80’s synths and integrates them into an Interpol styled rock anthem. It also gives me heavy Mitski feels too and makes a great bridge between old Torres and the new style. The album then closes with the most chaotic track on the album. ‘Keep the Devil Out’ is a riot. The detuned guitars scream and squeal as Torres sings ‘everybody wants to get to heaven but nobody wants to die to get there’.
I adore how much abandon there is to ‘Thirstier’. It is aggressive, honest, vulnerable, ass-kicking and a little unhinged. I feel like this album is a real cathartic release for Torres. Its defiance and full commitment to make something ugly and brash means every track feels like a pearl of wisdom – fully committed to. Nothing feels safe. Everything is an open wound. It’s also quite celebratory too. Not everyone can throw home truths around about how sharing the everyday grind with their lover makes them happy and horny. These are anthems to live for. Stunning.
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