Release Date: Jan 22, 2013
Record label: Self Released
The opening notes of Torres’ debut album are an unmistakable invitation to battle: pairs of clean cello slashes trigger a dry snap, like a gun being cocked and fired. Fittingly, the studio where it was recorded was used as a makeshift military hospital during the American Civil War, though no blood was shed in the five days Mackenzie Scott spent there recording ‘Torres’: the Georgia-born songwriter exercises white-knuckle control over her emotions across these 10 torrid songs, not spilling a drop. Age 18, Scott moved to Nashville to study songwriting at Belmont University (she was in the same class as Diarrhea Planet).
Mackenzie Scott, aka Torres, owes her family big time. The 22-year-old singer/songwriter was already equipped with warm and enticing vocals, notable guitar skills, and a first class education from Belmont University’s songwriting program. Apparently, family members all chipped in to buy her the electric Gibson guitar heard on the self-titled album.
TorresTorres[Self-released; 2013]By Andrew Halverson; February 15, 2013Purchase at: Insound (Vinyl) | Amazon (MP3 & CD) | iTunes | MOGTweetUpon listening to the debut album by Nashville artist Mackenzie Scott aka Torres, it's easy to sit on the receiving end of its charm and emotional discourse. That's not to say it explores feelings of glow and rejoice, but rather it assembles complex human feelings and articulates them in a record that basks in its own humanity through sorrow and reflection, and from that comes elation. Torres petitions the soul to hold itself together in times of bleakness, and while album's promise may seem unbalanced at times, Scott's harrowing voice and lyricism manages to turn the attitude into its own favor.
Mackenzie Scott's voice conveys raw, urgent desperation, the sort we flinch from instinctually and are attuned, on a primal level, to heed. It is an "I haven't eaten in three days" sound, pitched between stray-dog growl, moan, and sigh. If this voice appeared on a 3am voicemail, your blood would freeze. Like its owner, it fairly lunges to be heard.
Not to be confused with Chelsea's Spanish striker, this Torres is 22-year-old, Nashville-based Mackenzie Scott, who sings startlingly intimate confessionals about need, longing, jealousy and isolation. Her debut album was recorded live to tape, often featuring just voice and echoey guitar, though a minimalist band occasionally fleshes out her stark but sublime songs. The haunting Honey first caused internet listeners' ears to prick up with words that may or may not be about domestic violence: "Everything hurts, but it's fine … it happens all the time." Comparisons to PJ Harvey, or even Sylvia Plath, would be apt; she has a similar way of pulling back the veneer of human relationships to explore the mess beneath.
Mackenzie Scott has a problem. Actually, she has several problems, and they’re not related to her efforts to rediscover the form which commanded that multi-million pound transfer fee just a few years ago. No, her problems are mostly ones of familiarity. Confessional singer-songwriters aren’t exactly thin on the ground, so Torres comes ready burdened with both a bunch of easy comparators and an increased need to be distinctive .But the fact is, her self-titled, self-released debut does.
For as long as there is music, angsty singer-songwriters will also exist. From Adele to Perfume Genius to Cat Power, this is one sub-genre that’s never short of a new misery guts to bolster its endless tide of woe. Given the circumstances, it’s remarkable that Torres (aka. Mackenzie Scott) has managed to build a hum of appreciation around her self-titled debut.
Behind the soubriquet, Torres is 22-year-old Nashville musician Mackenzie Scott, a model of roiling restraint. She is the sort of songwriter – spare of intonation, barely adorned with instruments – who studies someone dropping ash in their coffee (as on Honey), and steps back from delivering some home truths. Later, she will stare into a waterfall (Waterfall), and consider leaping, but desist.
TORRES, the debut album from 22-year-old Nashville native Mackenzie Scott, has a deceptively charming backstory. Scott's family pooled their money together to buy the Gibson guitar that is heard on the album. It was recorded live to tape over the course of five days in the home of a Louisiana songwriter. Scott herself is a bright-eyed, beautiful young woman that simply looks happy to have the opportunity to share her music.