I saw TORRES live not even two months ago, and it was kind of a resounding experience. I didn’t know what to expect, but certainly not to be absolutely blown away at 1:00 AM -and counting- in a presbyterian church in Austin, TX. Mackenzie Scott, who chose to go by the artist name TORRES (in honor of her late grandfather’s last  name) and her support band were playing material from TORRES’ first self-titled album and from the -back then still- upcoming second album Sprinter.  

Two tracks from Sprinter have been already released ahead of the album’s May 5th releaseStrange Hellos in January 2015 and the album’s title song Sprinter in March. When getting enamored with a musician and their music, we tend to follow them on Facebook and Twitter, read interviews and start even our own searches for more. And the one name that always pops up is the innovative English singer-songwriter PJ Harvey, and not least because Sprinter has been co-produced by Rob Ellis (known for his work with PJ Harvey) and featuring Portishead guitarist Adrian Utley and PJ Harvey’s bassist Ian Oliver.  

In an interview with Mackenzie Scott, she states that she would not have even known the musicians she’s so often getting compared with -and I tend to believe her because while no longer her age, I also went happily through live without knowing PJ Harvey’s or Cat Power’s entire catalogue. (Besides, for me there’s really not much resemblances there other than crazy skills and talents and… well…. the obvious, same gender!)

There are all of these incredible musicians who I do consider to be influences, and I get compared to a lot of people who, honestly, I’ve never even listened to. To be perfectly frank, I’ve never heard a Cat Power song all the way through, and I didn’t even know who PJ Harvey was before I put out my album. And of course they’re incredible. I love PJ Harvey now.

I see TORRES being a musician in her own rights. She’s a new generation of artists, female artists if one must stress that fact, who do what they feel fit and right. And there’s just everything right on Sprinter or nothing, depending on your point of view, because the album overall is rather dark and certainly no happy pop affair. 

Sprinter draws you right in with the widely discussed Strange Hellos and the question “Who is Heather and why does Mackenzie hate her so much”? Aside from the stark lyrics, the song starts out very smooth, just to get bigger and more fierce and Mackenzie Scott’s vocals more pressing and urgent. It’s one of her styles and you can also detect it on songs like A Proper Polish Welcome and Sprinter.

Songs like Ferris Wheel or The Exchange are not only fairly long with 7 minutes plus but also extremely intimate and mysterious. The other songs are somewhere in-between. Common for all nine tracks on Sprinter though is that they tell personal stories and beautifully so.

Sadly, or wisely (!), A Proper Polish Welcome is not on soundcloud or Youtube (yet!), but track number 6, also the shortest, is: 

In an excellent Pitchfork interview, Mackenzie Scott provides some background to what’s going on in Strange Hellos (so read the entire thing!) yet she also states: 

Pitchfork: What would you say you’re most afraid of right now?
Mackenzie Scott: Losing loved ones to death.

And while this fear becomes apparent throughout the album, it becomes crystal clear in tn the closing track Exchange when she sings/whispers/breathes: 
I’m afraid that my heroes age // I’m afraid of disintegration // If you’re not here, I can not be here for you // If you’re not here // I can not be alone // mother, father, I’m under water – The song is set to happily tweeting birds and the contrast could not having been made clearer.


01 Strange Hellos – 3:55
02 New Skin – 5:16
03 Son, You Are No Island – 4:28
04 A Proper Polish Welcome – 5:04
05 Sprinter – 4:44
06 Cowboy Guilt – 2:49
07 Ferris Wheel – 7:01
08 The Harshest Light – 4:07
09 The Exchange – 7:48

Listen -and watch- more of TORRES- and see her live. If you can, buy the album and listen to it from A to Z. And then on repeat and you might be as hooked as I am. – Tour dates are just a tiny scroll further down…

TORRES is touring. I’ll be seeing her at Baby’s All Right and Mercury Lounge. Go and see her too: