REVIEWED: Torche's 'Admission'
Sometimes you just have to throw your hands up in the air and enjoy a good tune. OK, so we're not advocating ska-punk – one of Dark Matter's more idiotic writers (this one) tried to skank once, slipped on some beer and smashed his knee in, which only goes to show that not only karma is alive and well, it also has a sense of humour. No, we're talking about the rather delightful and colourful Torche, who've been reliably trotting out major key majesty for the last 10 years or so, but mostly hit their stride on 'Harmonicraft' in 2012 when their self-applied “stoner pop” started to come into focus.
Now, if you're an old fuddy duddy, grizzled of beard and possibly possessing a beer belly like a boulder, you'll probably think the two terms are mutually exclusive, like chalk and cheese, or Michael McIntrye and sharp incisive wit. But this is music, where anything goes if you can make it work. And the foursome from Miami have been casually applying heavy riffs onto easy going structures for nigh on a decade now, confounding critics and delighting listeners. Imagine, if you will, the hyperkinetic thrill ride of noise rock like McClusky, the energy of punk rock (the grown up kind that talks about issues, not twats crying into tissues), and yes the sheer power of the grizzled heavy riff. Add in the structures of Krautrock, and you're starting to get close to what 'Admission' is all about.
Hosting the organised chaos of 'Harmonicraft' and the follow up 'Restarter', which was more sombre, 'Admission' takes elements of both to refine their riffaramma. Imagine a more lucid My Bloody Valentine going straight edge together with an attendant love of hardcore, or Jesus and Mary Chain getting to the fucking point. But then you're missing on the sheer factor that sets Torche apart: a mastery of tone and tempo to make their psychedelic hypnotically swirl around that sweet spot of heaviness and heartiness. They can still mix in the pure weight when 'On The Wire' and 'Infireno' snarl so much they need palm muting to hone their ferocity. We could bang on about how they also chuck in some Melvins influence in there, but then again any dickhead can do that. In the end though, you can only explain so much with analogies. This is a kaleidoscopic cacophony of all that's good and true in upbeat modern music that's like surfing on a wave of boiling lava.