By Seamus Simpson
An album to drive through the desert to…
The new album by Torches Heads Full of Rust immediately strikes me as an album tailor made for long drives though the desert in the middle of the night with the stereo on high. From the first shimmering guitar line of the appropriately named “Out of the Desert” you feel the need to just get out of where ever you and find someplace where you can scream at the top of your lungs “someone let me out of here.” You can almost see the endless road stretching out before you as make the midnight run through the middle of the country.
The kinetic single of the album “I Want Something” is a perfect follow-up song to this. The song grabs you by the shirt, and the catchy chorus will have you screaming out the window. By the time you get to “Silver Haired Girl” the band starts to show a bit of its more mellow side. It seems that somehow they almost distilled all the best parts of another LA band, Film School, but instead of keeping the dreamy guitars up front they tend to keep the songwriting a little more grounded and the vocals to the foreground instead of buried which is the tactic most other dream pop bands seem to do.
The middle of the record tends to slow down a bit from the rush of the beginning of the album but this isn’t so much a bad thing as by the time you get there you don’t even notice that it has happened. It's one of those albums that you listen to and somehow start drifting off into your own thoughts only to be taken in by a great line, a well played tasteful drum beat, or harmonized boy/girl vocal part done in that classic California way. It’s almost as if you don’t listen to the record so much as drift or lilt though it.
The is book ended by great songs that almost like a tasty desert after eating the main course in the spacey instrumental track “Whine” and the dreamy rim shot staccato beat of the song “Six” which almost has a certain goodbye quality to it. I would say that Torches really have a well-put together album and stand poised to take the California dream pop title away from all comers.
I suppose of there was any case to be made against the record is the way a few of the songs bleed together in the middle of the album, but I suppose the same case can be made with most bands that have a distinctive sound. If you are like me though and enjoy shimmery guitars, driving staccato beats, dreamy vocals, and bass lines that don’t so much follow the song give it a sense of tension then I think you would enjoy this record thoroughly.
Torches plays this Saturday June 23 when Radio Free Silver Lake presents Radars To The Sky, The Hectors, Fort King, Torches, Ceeca at The Central, 1348 14th St, Santa Monica, CA. Doors open at 8pm, $8, 21+.