by Craig Howieson
On her fifth album, Mackenzie Scott’s masterful songwriting and production show us that our realities can in fact be the dreams we have been longing for
Prolonged periods of isolation, even if meant as holidays, spent cut off from the outside world, or detached from what we would usually describe as normal day to day activities can be tough. Even if they are not spent alone, but in the company of friends and family, the lack of an easy escape route, or sense of freedom, can become claustrophobic, almost all consuming. These periods, however, also allow us time to sit with and examine the intricacies of our lives and relationships: they give birth to a new appreciation of what we have. Most importantly, they allow us to focus on the fact that we can become so obsessed with pursuing dreams and ambitions that we may in fact already have all we ever need – that the real dream is what we are living, and what we are pursuing is what we are already blessed with.
This theme is at the core of Thirstier – the new record from TORRES. Speaking of the record Scott says, ‘We’re always fantasising about something that’s out of reach. That’s what a fantasy is. It’s something you can’t have. But I wanted to turn that idea around and ask, “What if your fantasy was the thing that you have, this endless loop of fantasy?”’
The way in which this plays out on the record is subtle, but also enrapturing, as made abundantly clear on album opener – and perhaps the blueprint for the whole record – Are You Sleepwalking? A scourge of guitars paired with Scott’s voice crush into an immediate chorus before diverting into a twisted meld of electronics. The free abandon on display is a unique insight into Scott’s comfort within her own skin. What was hinted at on her last record, Silver Tongue, is cemented here. And while the sound of guitars that seem to emanate from the basement bars of late 80’s Seattle may be nothing new, Scott’s masterful use of them certainly is – as is the way in which she pairs them with blessed moments of stargazing pop.
This is not a record spent lamenting the past or trying to peer into the future through rose tinted spectacles. It is set in the here and now, and stuffed full of pure joy. Hug From A Dinosaur could be Scott’s most hook laden track to date – where growling guitars streaked with effervescent synth and hand clap rhythms hint at a happiness that is hard to fake. It all culminates in a welcome respite for trying times. Even when things get slightly darker towards the record’s final run, as creepy electronics and samples intrude upon tracks such as Keep The Devil Out, Scott’s charm and optimism is always just below the surface.
Thirstier is an album for the present – one to soundtrack a renewed focus on positivity. It is also a reminder that as the world starts to open up, the finest parts of life are often those we already hold, and are closer to home than you may think.
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