[sic] Magazine

Torres – Torres

There aren’t many places more synonymous with a particular sound than Nashville. It takes either a maverick therefore to break the hegemonic mould – see Daughn Gibson – or someone for whom something different is so natural that it seems to burn out of them from simple necessity.

You could point to Mackenzie Scott ‘s upbringing in Georgia as that driving force. It certainly does give her an intimate Southern flavour akin to that of contemporary singer-songwriter Waxahatchee , but there’s more to it than that as tracks like the mesmeric “Jealousy And I” prove. Though its tale of unrequited love is well worn, Scott’s spellbinding delivery and the universal appeal of her message mean that she bores through any emotional shied you throw up and the way her vocal tumbles along the forlorn guitar lines is truly magnetic. There are her poetic lyrics too, such as those on the closer “Waterfall”, during which she mulls over the possibility of suicide: “The rocks beneath they bare their teeth / They all conspire to set me free.”

In any case, the story goes that Scott didn’t really “find her sound” until she started playing with a semi-acoustic Gibson and she does make the most of it here on this debut LP, eking out some memorably lonesome passages that recall the sparse and intense strains of modern Americana acts like Strand Of Oaks . You live and breathe, for example, every raw three-chord pulse on “Honey”, inwardly cheering Scott on as she switches between ragged isolation and louder, yet calmer, arrangements. “November Baby” too is another wonderful reflection that unravels at its own pace, finger-picked guitar lines trickling through the landscape at an impressive meander.

On “Moon & Back” however (a mother’s apostrophe to a child she gave up for adoption), Scott slashes at the gloomy subject matter with barbed tongue and sudden eruptions in instrumentation. It’s also the only track that really builds in tension too, yet the expected blowout never comes for Scott’s emotion is instead contained in every indistinct mote of drizzle.

It’s difficult to know whether the vulnerable Scott or her angst-filled alter ego is the more attractive, though when she’s neither the results are less affecting. Mercifully, such examples are the exception rather than the rule, serving only to make her highlights, like the crepuscular and barely-there “Chains”, seem even stronger, Scott’s striking vocal encroaching on hushed freak-folk in this case while scraped strings take the track in an unhinged, Chelsea Wolfe -like direction.

Though you wouldn’t yet know if from a Google search, which is inevitably dominated by her sporting namesake, Torres is, on this form, bound for greatness.

Best tracks: “Chains” and “November Baby”.

~Torres gets its UK release on the 11th November 2013.~