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Torrez - The Evening Drag

Reviews

Delusions of Adequacy

Your eyes adjust as you wake up from a mid-day sleep; it's one of those times when you feel the beauty of the world overflowing. The television's still on, but what's the point of commercials for hair products and the promotion of mainstream music? This is when you can press play on Torrez. It's the simplicity of life that Torrez emphasizes on The Evening Drag.

The Evening Drag is Torrez's second release and first full-length. With such delicate music, the strength of the album is amazing. The band hails from Portsmouth, N.H. and has created music that could be the soundtrack to your youthful dreams of hope.

I couldn't think of a better way to celebrate emotion than to listen to Torrez. The music is built around simple drums, bass, and guitars, but there's some sort of desperate comfort that the female vocals bring. Kim Torres puts a gift into the music with her singing that is somewhat like Snake River Conspiracy mixed with Tori. Not only do the vocals intensify the music, but also the keyboards and stringed instruments. It's always attractive to hear a good keyboard sound moving through mellow dramatic music.

All of the songs are very intimate with vocals and desolate with music, but there's comfort in it. Songs such as "Forage Your Way" are thoroughly sensuous and full of character. The album as a whole has a feel of loneliness, but there's a lot of beauty built into it. The guitars weep soft melodies that hypnotize you more and more all the way to the end of The Evening Drag. -Adam

>>> adequacy.net


Opus

Torrez claim to be from New Hampshire, but I ain't buying that for a second. There's no way a band from New England could drum up the sort of lonesome, "broken heart on a desert highway" mood that permeates every song on this album. If Torrez really are from New Hampshire as they claim, then the band's spirit resides in some run-down town on the edge of the Mojave Desert, where the blistering heat gives way to long evenings where the only comforting light is at the end of your cigarette.

Although Torrez employs an impressive array of instrumentation - in addition to guitars, bass, and drums, you'll find optigans, organs, mellotrons and strings sprinkled through the album - not once does Torrez smother their songs in sounds and effects. Rather, each song on here is given a chance to breathe, with smoky, rustic atmospheres filtering throughout each song. However, underneath the atmospheres, the band takes strands of alt-country, slowcore, and post-rock to create lush, dimly lit vistas.

The album's opener takes everything Mazzy Star did on "Tonight That I Might See" and ups the ante, with random percussive and organ elements sprinkled throughout. The mood, as with so much of the album, seems to imply some place out in the desert at twilight, contemplating your heartbreak as the starts begin to appear after the retreating sun. Everytime I listen to "Forage Your Way", the ghostly bridge that comes in partway through the song never ceases to amaze me.

As lovely as Torrez' music is to my ears, it's the vocals of Kim Torres that really pull everything together. Again, the Mazzy Star comparison is inevitable, with Torres striking the same vocal pose as Hope Sandoval. But unlike Sandoval, Torres actually sounds like she isn't bored with her own music. Rather, her voice holds and seduces you, drawing you in with a curl of the finger and a sideways glance.

No matter how many times I hear "Final Fantasy", it never ceases to hit me hard. The music strikes a perfect note of resignation with a sparse guitar melody trying to break free of John and Chris Greiner's rhythm section. Torres' weary vocals and sparse lyrics ("They say that you're coming home/And I've barely grown") multiply this tension. It's readily apparent that Torres' possesses Mimi Parker's gift for making even the most languorous, lethargic singing a thing of dreamy beauty.

After an album's worth of heartache, "All On Fire" delivers a slightly more upbeat note, as Torres coos "Though there may be darkness in your heart/It's just a spark that starts the flame that burns all night". Best to listen to this one on headphones. Torres sounds like she's mere inches away from your ear, an effect that produces more than its fair share of goosebumps.

Regardless of how cheesy this sounds, The Evening Drag reminds me of why I enjoy doing this critic thing in the first place. Rarely do I receive an album that impresses me this much, that excites me to think I get to review and share it with others, much less listen to it. The first time I put this in the CD player, I somehow managed to listen to it 5 times in a row. It never occurred to me to do anything other than hit the "Play" button again. I even shared it with my co-workers, who had nothing but positive things to say.

Torrez have a real, finely crafted gem of an album here, dripping with heartache and melancholy without ever becoming overbearing or monotonous. And if I'm not careful, I'll find myself listening to it 5 more times before I take the darn thing out. -Jason Morehead

>>> opuszine.com


The Hartford Courant

The comparison is inevitable. Kim Torres, she of the sweet voice and cool lyrical delivery, reminds a lot of people of Hope Sandoval, the onetime Mazzy Star singer and current solo artist. Here's the difference: While both have dreamy and ethereal, almost angelic vocal styles, Torres sounds just a bit more like one of us. She is expressive but also earthbound, and on the band's second record, The Evening Drag, she proves herself to be a wonderful talent.

Torrez - the name of the band is a close cousin of the singer's last name - is a conventional rock outfit: Torres sings and plays guitar; Sidney Alexis plays keyboards and guitar; Chris Greiner plays bass and his brother John Greiner plays the drums. The quartet, the core of which was formed at the University of New Hampshire in 1998, favors quiet, introspective songs. A good example is "Final Fantasy," a track that blends echoey guitar, barely there bass, unobtrusive drums and sad lyrics - "They say you're comin' home ... I've barely grown" - into a satisfying whole.

The record's first song, "The Girls Will Haunt You," and its last, "All on Fire," are among several that have a way of insinuating themselves into a listener's consciousness. That said, this is a record best listened to in a single sitting. Clocking in at less than 45 minutes, it's a lean atmospheric soundscape, at once seamless and emotionally nuanced. -Kevin Canfield

>>> ctnow.com


Lost at Sea

Torrez emit the atmospheres which we often seek out in sounds. Music you want to put on when people are starting to leave and the party's winding down. Music to be played at night when you are driving through the desert and jackrabbits peek their heads up along the highway. Music that will eek out at you on a dark night by yourself.

We cannot give credit for originality. This is territory already paved by Mazzy Star, Giant Sand and occasionally PJ Harvey. But it is certainly not copycat music- for that we provide merit. Let's face it; there should always be music like this to listen to. Torrez does it very well.

Apparently Torrez is from New Hampshire, which doesn't make all that much sense. We'd expect them to be from the Southwest, but we're okay with the fact they are from New Hampshire. Perhaps this makes sense in a similar way. Music for a snowy night drive through New Hampshire as Elk antlers shimmer in the distance. Yes, it works. In fact the music is quite versatile. Bath music, drug music, doing it music. We have not tried any, but bet it works for all, maybe even at the same time.

Lyrics are hard to get a hold of, but only matter in hints. "You will remain," "In this life, you'll remember the things that you've wanted so bad," "Never asked me for much, while I never asked you at all" "You took the flame away" "It's all on fire"...

One song bleeds into the next on the album and that's okay. We like things this way when we listen to this kind of music. If we had to remember songs, we would remember the swelling sound that ends "Forage Your Way." We would remember "All The Riders" for its simple perfection. Keep things short and stick to the point. We would remember "The Evening Sun" for its cello and good change of pace. In fact, we remember "The Evening Sun" because it's a damn good song.

You'll want to put The Evening Drag on for a while, so don't worry too much about the individual songs. It grows better as it goes a long. The last couple of songs are the best. If we know nothing else, we know that. -John Steinbacher

>>> lostatsea.net


Splendid

Depression has always played a role in the creation (and subsequent consumption) of music. Whether it's Miles Davis's weeping trumpet tone, the heartbroken voice of Merle Haggard, or the howling guitar notes of Buddy Guy, depression bleeds into almost every form of music. Unlike the fickle listener, depression isn't biased towards a particular genre; it has no preferred medium, and stops at nothing until it encompasses your every thought.

Even if you like rock more than angst-friendly country or blues, there are plenty of artists available to bum you out. New Hampshire's Torrez is merely the latest in a seemingly never-ending list of rock desperados willing to take your emotions on a frightful rollercoaster ride to the other side.

Torrez is like a prescription drug. Used properly, the band can flesh out those ill feelings holed up inside you and facilitate their expulsion from your body. The Evening Drag is an 11-point recovery program, each tune evoking particular feelings and responses. However, if you're not careful, the album can just as likely lead you to the edge, leaving you with an overwhelming sense of hopelessness that's difficult to overcome.

The tools used during this therapeutic session include standard rock fare -- drums, bass and guitar -- along with the lesser-known optigan and mellotron and an arsenal of unusual effects. And then there's the singing. Vocalist Kim Torres has a familiar and fragile voice that brings to mind Hope Sandoval of Mazzy Star. With a catatonic presentation, Torres drifts peacefully from verse to verse with mesmerizing ambience. Her angelic tone is a wondrous thing, manipulating textures and melodies without overwhelming the other band members or the listener. The end product is confident, yet reserved; instead of becoming the focal point, Torres's voice acts like another instrument, adding a distinct, but complementary role to the overall execution of The Evening Drag.

Tracks such as "There Are Some Places You Should Leave and Never Go Back To", "A New Despair" and "The Girls Will Haunt You" echo feelings of abandonment, isolation and despondency. On each number, the rhythm section methodically plods through an unhurried groove, as organs, guitar and wispy vocals float over the top. The precise and passionate playing is unobtrusive and comforting, leaving you to explore the band's carefully-crafted moods and relate them to your own experiences. It's the perfect backing for a Friday night personal reflection session.

There's plenty of emotional baggage here, expressed not only by Torres's poignant lyrics, but also by the dissonant chords and cozy melodies. "Forage Your Way" is more upbeat than the other tracks, as fluid percussion and dense effects swirl awfully close to the space-rock arena. "Forage" is simple and sensuous, winding its way through the musical fog and scavenging for answers with an unnerving meticulousness. The weeping cello on "The Evening Sun" could be the recipient of Torres's words; with a slight drawl, she sings: "I like your mistakes / Like the way you cover them up / Like the way you break." It's beautiful, but paradoxically morose.

Just been dumped by your significant other? Here's a quick way to the bottom -- add alcohol. The Evening Drag is ideal music for after the breakup. It's the soundtrack for staring blankly at the wall, crying like hell and contemplating your options (including the desperate and bizarre solutions you'll never admit you considered). Torrez is what suicide sounds like; every track acts as a form of release, but exempts you from having to go through the physical motions and painful repercussions. The next morning, you're still among the living, but your feelings have been exorcised. And The Evening Drag is still close by, in case you need another round of therapy. -Andrew Magilow

>>> splendidezine.com



Last modified: Friday, 25-Jun-2010 14:16:40 PDT

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