A scowling, writhing collection of songs dead set on getting born
The debut album by this woman who calls herself Torres (real name: Mackenzie Scott) was recorded in a creaky old Nashville house that happens to be owned by Tony Joe White, he who gave the world “Polk Salad Annie.” But that may have just been a lucky coincidence. These songs feel as if they were bound to come crawling out of Scott’s body no matter what she did or where she was, a strange litter of scowling, writhing fuzzballs just dead set on getting born. Dominated by the wavery tones of her Gibson 355 electric, the songs explore the fragile architecture of human relationships, often finding Scott standing amid a steaming pile of rubble, wondering not about what caused the house to fall but what to do, now, with all the shattered pieces left behind. “Everything hurts, but it’s fine, it’s fine,” she sings — almost seethes — on “Honey,” the album’s lead single, a languid meditation on stasis and confession that builds up slow around a ground-out guitar line and crests in waves of pummeling drums, frayed vocals, frayed everything. Though lit up with distortion and drum-machine pulses, Torres is easily imaginable as a stripped-down acoustic affair, and in some ways might be better as such; “Come to Terms” finds Scott unplugged and fingerpicking, allowing lines like “just because the two of us will both grow old in time/ don’t mean we should go old together” the time and space to make their full devastation known.