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The Evening Drag

Torrez

Release Date: 11.19.02
Record label: Kimchee Records
Genre(s): Rock

80 Music-Critic Score
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Inhale...Exhale
by: terry sawyer


Torrez have mastered the atmospherics of sinking. Slightly less of a freefall than Cat Power, Torrez, make music artfully spiraled downward. Although bands like Mazzy Star and Drugstore have thoroughly mined the genre of a front woman on Vicodin murmuring through an instrumental fog, Torrez still manage to eke out some originality and several moments of tugging beauty in sound that, at times, can verge on voluntary catatonia.


"The Evening Sun", the album's title track, stands out with particular intensity, scuffed in chilly strings that would be at home with Nico and perfectly tainted lyrics such as "I like the evening sun/ I like the way it suffers your stare". Even better, the band gets a chance to launch into an extended bout of white noise which gives them a chance to thrash about without being accessories to the vocals. "Final Fantasy" standstills in a delicately twanged track that with a Calexico-ed smoking six shooter aura to it. "All on Fire" also breaks rank with a far more ominous tone, a menacing backdrop over smoking pianos and vocals that sound desperate through their distancing distortion. At times, Torrez sounds like label mate, Thalia Zedek, with the exception that they vary their instruments and aesthetic far beyond the dive bar suicide vibe that Zedek conjures from the bottom's bottom. Unlike other bands in this genre, Torrez have built complete songs rather than just empty backdrops for Torres' voice. With mellotrons, optigans, and "effects galore", there's enough going on to put teeth in the ambience.


If Torrez have a major weakness, it's that Kim Torres' vocal approach and the listless backdrops have a tendency on occasion to bleed the songs together with an almost monochromatic mood. But that's the sort of teary-eyed haze that seems to be their artistic bent so it's mildly unfair to expect them to aim elsewhere for the simple purpose of rote variety. Besides, they have a distinct remainder that salvages them from mediocrity. There's a trembling severity to Torrez, a slinking unease of an undertow that prevents the music from simply dissolving itself into last night's dream. This is more than worth checking out, especially for those day's that you need a musical reflecting pool for quiet, everyday turmoil. 24-Jul-2003 9:22 AM