Release Date: Sep 29, 2017
Record label: 4AD
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Rock, Alternative Singer/Songwriter
Torres' Mackenzie Scott described Three Futures as a celebration of the body, a concept that she extends to the cover image, where she sits with a direct gaze and a traditionally masculine pose, taking up as much space as she can. The music on her third album isn't always as blunt, but the feeling of being as present as possible is unmistakable. There was already quite a bit presence -- or at least guts -- on her previous album Sprinter, but as much as she brooded and raged, there was a theoretical quality to the album that gave it an intellectual distance.
On 2015’s remarkable Sprinter, Mackenzie Scott, the Georgia-bred songwriter behind TORRES, reckoned with her Christian upbringing and what it might mean to leave it behind. “What I did is what is done / The Baptist in me chose to run,” she sang on the ferocious title track. Three Futures, the follow-up, is a bold, Krautrock-inspired excursion that dims the feedback squalls and quells the songwriter’s spiritual crisis with a humanistic ethos of her own.
Scott’s latest, Three Futures, finds her settling into a sagacious understanding and acceptance of the pieces of her own life before and up until now and the nuance that glues them together. Backing off of Sprinter’s furious immediacy, Three Futures is an album swathed in texture and rumination which makes it an album that requires – and rewards – repeated listens. However, they are also signs that Scott is comfortable laying everything out and having us approach and patiently root through it..
When Sprinter, Mackenzie Scott.
Torres remains unpredictable. It's no paltry thing, half a decade into the acclaimed, if understated, career of a certified indie queen. She entered onto the scene as jarring, refreshing new voice on her self-titled debut, in the class of brutally raw singer-songwriter that'd make PJ Harvey proud. If anything, the follow up, Sprinter, only saw her dive deeper into loudness and confrontational spirits, earning new fans and discomforting some early followers in the same assured gesture.
Singer-guitarist Torres' 2015 breakout, Sprinter, was a stirring study in spiritual reckoning. Her latest is even more raw, offering conflicted images of emotional and physical release over bracing industrial-rock textures co-produced by Rob Ellis (PJ Harvey). The harsh, predatory "Skim" spools through questions like "Did he hold your hips with authority?" as if weaponizing betrayal, and on "Three Futures," she seems to give breaking up an almost religious significance over a spare melody that flickers like a dying prayer candle.
"I'm not a righteous woman," sings Mackenzie Scott (TORRES) on the fourth track of Three Futures. She's right: the Georgia-born guitarist has made a third album that is introspective and cautious. While it experiments with melody, testing out and trying new ways to loop in emotional intensity under sharp rhythms and brooding lyrics, it certainly doesn't take anything for granted.
When you sign on to make your new album in the same place as your last one, you.
Photo by Ashley Connor Torres backs away from the strident, slashing guitars of Spinter to make spare, sinuous synth music that is paced by glitch-y, scratchy programmed beats and punctuated by blares of oddly dissociated blasts of disco synth. Her voice, clear and true at top volume, affectingly smudgy at a whisper, is the main organic element in songs which are, paradoxically, all about the organic. Specifically, they are about the body, the experience of living physically in this mass of meat and liquid and electrical impulses.