Torres’ self-titled debut may have taken its time to reach the British Isles since being released in North America back in January but the wait is definitely worth it. Beginning with a tour-de-force of voice and guitar combining in beautiful harmony in ‘Mother Earth, Father God’, Torres (real name Mackenzie Ruth Scott) declares that she was ‘Born on bloody battleground/to the middlemen between two realms,’ and so the tone of record is set within the opening three minutes.
It sometimes feels as though the listener is being privy to the private conversations of a lover in turmoil, debating with the one she loves over her behaviour; “I’m suffocating you I know/but it’s just the only way I know to love,” before referencing the green-eyed monster which is present in every human relationship; “Jealously gets me sometimes/but I don’t mind/Cause Jealously and I are two of a kind /and she’s all mine.” In many ways, the record is introspective, trying to reconcile the hopes and dreams of a 22-year-old songwriter with the reality of her situation, as explored on the only acoustic track, ‘Come to Me’, and the rays of sunlight appearing on the horizon; “If I can derive some happiness from this/I’ll have made it out alive,” coupled with the acceptance of the end of the relationship; “I used to just adore you/now you just bore me.” Torres is not the voice of a generation, but her way with words and her ability to construct a melody which cuts through the listener gives her lyrics the added gravitas they require.
It is one of life’s great shames that Torres will never be universally adored or showered with awards, but perhaps, for her artistic integrity, this may not be such a bad thing. Her radio play is definitely limited, her name automatically throws assumption to a rather much more famous footballer, and her music simply isn’t designed for the iTunes generation who buy the generic four-to-the-floor dancefloor fillers. It demands attention from the listener, repeated spins, an understanding of the stories being told. When 2013 draws to its close, Torres’s name will probably not be on many end of year lists. Yet, it will be celebrated by this writer in a small corner of an English town, and passed on and shared for others to enjoy. There may well be a new record to help soundtrack those cold, wintery nights.
Words: Joe Sweeting