To say that Torres' Mackenzie Scott had a rough 2018 is a bit of an understatement. Six months after she released her 4AD debut, Three Futures, the label released her from her contract; despite its considerable critical acclaim, it didn't meet their commercial expectations. Coupled with the end of a relationship and a family health scare, it's no wonder that Scott contemplated giving up music entirely during this period of time.
It's been a torrid few years for Mackenzie Scott, better known by her creative alter ego TORRES. Three Futures, her third album and her first for 4AD, was released in September 2017 to substantial acclaim from critics and fans alike. It seemed a match made in heaven, Scott was a huge fan of the iconic UK indie label, and they, in turn, seem convinced that Three Futures would be TORRES' big commercial breakthrough.
Following the modest success of 'Three Futures', her departure from 4AD and enlistment with Merge Records, the last three years have proved, according to a recent interview, a cathartic experience for Torres' Mackenzie Scott. 'Silver Tongue' represents an act of renewal in some sense, an entirely self-produced release that finds her piercing through the gauzy gusto layering her previous work to reveal a blistering mash-up of quirky keys, tearing guitar and bold drums - more nimble and ethereal than ever. She soaks each track with the fluid dreaminess touched upon in earlier output, brought to the fore and spun in a ghostly web of glitchy synth, vivid examples of which include the spectral 'Two Of Everything' and the chugging throb of 'Good Grief'.
Since her moody, folk-tinged debut in 2013, Mackenzie Scott (aka Torres) has become progressively more fascinating over each LP. With the release of Silver Tongue, the Nashville-based singer-songwriter should finally shake the torpid comparisons to PJ Harvey and St. Vincent.
Her fourth full-length doesn't show Torres boldly moving into new sonic territories, as much of the album finds her splitting the difference between the disparate expressive modes presented over her first three releases. The truth is, Scott has simply grown into an ….
In 2017, singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott released Three Futures, her most aggressive, starkly arranged, and provocative album to date. Despite its direct lyrics and instantly memorable visual aesthetic, Futures failed to meet the commercial expectations of her former label 4AD--maybe it didn't stand out enough against records like St. Vincent's Masseduction, or maybe it was too unflinching to be as accessible.
It’s fair to say that Mackenzie Scott, otherwise known as TORRES, has had a rough few years. Her third album, Three Futures, was her debut for 4AD, a personal dream come true for Scott who had long admired that label’s history. Sadly, Three Futures had modest record sales and she was unceremoniously dropped from 4AD. Things were not going especially well in her personal life either, where Scott’s girlfriend was having an affair and it seemed like her relationship too was about to disintegrate.
Silver Tongue, the latest from Brooklyn singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott, is a highly personal album exploring love's toxicity and salve. Frank, open lyrics give the album a documentary feel, with Scott herself taking the reins on production, ensuring that it's nothing if not authentic. She immediately looks to break shackles on opener "Good Scare", as her usually intimate-scale indie gives way to something bigger, driving drums, strings and guitar providing a rolling sonic landscape.
The Lowdown: Mackenzie Scott, also known as Torres, sings on "Records of Your Tenderness": "My mind's an overgrown orchard. " Silver Tongue, her fourth studio album and the first she's produced by herself, shows us the depths of this orchard — the places the inward world tangles with the outward, where unexpected things bloom, where there are natural paths to follow, and where the listener must forge their own. Silver Tongue is a genre-bending journey through a developing relationship with a constant feeling of driving to it, perhaps best exemplified by the insistent refrain of "Last Forest": "Something jogs the memory/ That I've loved you repeatedly.
M ackenzie Scott, the 29-year-old US indie singer-songwriter behind Torres, is rarely more interesting than when she's talking about her art. She's described her music as "Gregorian country", "Enya meets Phil Collins's Tarzan soundtrack", and "Phantom of the Opera [with] pedal steel". It's just a shame that not enough of the flair she finds for juxtaposition reappears on this fourth album as memorable music.