Songs For Singles
posted on 10/2010 By:
Not long ago I found myself in the gorgeous Outer Banks region of North Carolina, a trip that rejuvenated my unending love affair with Mother Ocean. It was mid-September, but summer lived on, and the sunlight, salty air, and beach bodies once again left me pondering a question I’d thought about since this relationship was first given fire during young adulthood:
Is it possible to combine the aesthetics of a beach bum lifestyle with a serious love of the heavy metal arts?
The two should be as alien as oil and water, unable to combine but by force. In the past, I had often switched the iPod over to such serenity as Radiohead, Pink Floyd, or Opeth’s Damnation while taking in some rays and a bucket of Coronas, but I had long been in search of a band to provide me with serious heaviness and a sunny state of mind to go along with digging my toes into the sand. I had to choose the music for the rental car wisely. Much of what I brought with me -- from the new Iron Maiden to some classic Immortal (as un-sunny as it gets) -- was perfect for putting the pedal to the floor, but only one band fit the drive, the environment, the smells, and the shades while still feeding the insatiable hunger for riffage: Torche.
Like a marriage between Kyuss and the Beach Boys, the pop-tinged and sun-baked stoner/sludge of these Miami natives translates perfectly to any warm and sandy environ. Having only brought along Meanderthal (a mistake), I must have spun it at least three times over the short trip. Tracks like “Grenades” and “Across the Shields” provided an ideal and, most importantly, metal aural backdrop for a day with the waves. If I’d already had a copy of their newest, this Songs For Singles EP, it would have fit the festivities perfectly as well.
Since Torche’s debut, they have gradually dropped some stoner heft while infusing their songs with even more bright melody and pop tendencies. As the title would suggest, Songs For Singles continues this trend, weighing in as their lightest offering to date, but by no means abandoning their roots. The first half of the EP (by time) consists of six fairly prototypical short Torche songs, the most interesting and riff-laden of which is “Hideaway.” These tunes are in reality a form of pop rock that has shed the shit that makes the airwaves a festering dung heap: the over-processed production, cock-rock-douchebaggery vocals, terrible session drumming, and blatant posturing. Take all that, flip it around, and you have the Torche two-minute song formula: naturally sing-along vocals and guitar thickness by Steve Brooks, excellent skinsmanship courtesy of Rick Smith, and Jon Nunez’s like-buttah bass rumble.
The latter half takes this approach into more atmospheric and jammed-out territory. “Face The Wall” expands on the band’s previously hinted-at post-rock tendencies. It is the stronger of these final two tracks and really the only song on the EP begging to be played live. And that brings us to the only real complaint about Songs For Singles: it lacks a couple true classics to act as anchors for the whole. Every second of these 20 minutes is quite enjoyable, but nothing really screams out to be mentioned among the full-length offerings.
Still, for seasoned Torche fans this is a no-brainer and a welcome addition to the catalog, as it provides friendly and shark-free surfing waters that stay warm no matter the season. These beaches may be a far cry from the frostbitten kingdom of Blashyrkh, but I’ll be goddamned if I don’t want a retirement condo in both locales.
Register to post comments.