Mackenzie Scott has evolved quite a bit since her first release as TORRES. Her self-titled debut was full of heart-wrenching songs, mostly her and gently finger-picked guitar front and center. TORRES’ follow-up was a lot louder. Sprinter was rooted in grunge, tons of distortion, with an aggressive tone, and it was one hell of a record. Last week, Scott released her third record, Three Futures, which is yet another evolution as the Brooklyn-based artist heads in a more electronic, a la St. Vincent, sound.
From the moment the opening track, “Tongue Slap Your Brains Out”, begins, the evolution is obvious. It’s a minimalist song that features Scott’s voice as the focal point. She sings of becoming a damn Yankee but still being influenced by Georgia winds, a reference to her growing up in the conservative state. “Skim” was one of the lead singles from Three Futures and for good reason. It’s one of the best tracks on the record – from its bass-driven intro to the guitar work to the great ending, which Scott repeats “There is no unlit corner of the room I’m in.” It definitely gives off those aforementioned St. Vincent vibes.
The title track “Three Futures” is an interesting one, too. Scott’s vocals are almost mechanically, and she is backed by mostly just an electric drum track and some ambient guitar playing. The guitar work is great (and unorthodox throughout the record) thanks to Cameron Kapoor, who is truly a mad genius when it comes to guitar sounds. His presence is obvious on “Bad Baby Pie”, “Marble Focus”, and “Helen In The Woods”. The latter is another stand-out track. Its frenetic pace is driven by an intense bass line and drums and influenced by a real-life stalker story. While its the albums shortest song, it is intense and packs the biggest punch.
Three Futures is one hell of a record and one of the year’s most unique efforts. At times, it is intense, foreboding at other moments, and ethereal when you least expect it. The final track, “To Be Given A Body”, is an incredible example of all three. Scott’s voice is tense, accompanied by an eerie organ and harmonies before it gives way to a simple, haunting melody on just the organ. In many respect, the song exemplifies Mackenzie Scott’s continued evolution and growth as an artist. It’s different and surprising, and there is never a boring moment about TORRES’ music. Each time Scott releases something new, she’ll turn everything you thought you knew about her music upside-down.
Three Futures is out now via 4AD. Streaming and ordering options are available here.
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