Torche

Harmonicraft

 

01. Letting Go
02. Kicking
03. Walk It Off
04. Reverse Inverted
05. In Pieces
06. Snakes Are Charmed
07. Sky Trials
08. Roaming
09. Skin Moth
10. Kiss Me Dudely
11. Solitary Traveler
12. Harmonicraft
13. Looking On

[04/24/12]
[Volcom]

Sometimes listening to Torche is a lot like riding a bull. A bull that’s covered in sequins, ribbons and glitter. As the uplifting and upbeat rhythmic dance of ‘Letting Go‘ blares through the speakers, it’s infectious and playful nature is thrust to the forefront. However, you would do well to remember that this is a wolf in sheep’s clothing as it’s only as soon as ‘Kicking‘ swaggers through the gates with it’s fast tempo, colossal riffs and a healthy relationship with obtuse and odd time signatures that you start to remember that’s exactly what Torche does best — heavy.

Thankfully, Harmonicraft is packed full of these moments. ‘Sky Trials‘, for instance, sees the band take on a surprising turn of speed and come out better for it, at a mere minute and twenty seconds they manage to pack in more attitude and big-dumb-riffs than most bands manage in an entire album. Also, ‘Kiss Me Dudely‘, despite it’s odd name, is much like an alternate timeline version of Eyehategod, where all the hate, bile and vitriol is replaced with cautious optimism and the need to fulfill that base desire to ‘rock out’. All the dirty guitar lines and feedback are there, it’s just in an entirely different context.

It’s in true Torche style though, that these fast paced bursts of thunder pop are balanced by more meandering and extended pieces such as ‘Roaming‘, ‘Skin Moth‘ and ‘Reverse Inverted‘. Big Business riffs meet pop sensibilities in a head-on collision and end up producing tracks that sound as though Harvey Milk calmed down and instead started looking on the brighter side of life. While they lack the immediate urgency and instant appeal of a lot of the shorter tracks, it helps to create an interesting juxtaposition. Their magnum opus Meanderthal also used this technique but fell short when a lot of the longer tracks became drawn out and needless – Harmonicraft sees the band take a lot more care in making sure that the fat is trimmed and the substance is potent for the most part. Though you can’t help but wish sometimes that Torche would go ‘all or nothing’ and concentrate on those sludgy, short shocks that work so well for them.

Harmonicraft won’t convince anyone, who wasn’t already a previous fan, that Torche are worth their time. The band sticks fairly closely to ‘their sound’ which, to be entirely fair, is pretty broad anyway. But this is an album that consolidates and builds up rather than expanding outwards and it wouldn’t be too much of a push to say that this is their most polished and accomplished work to date – simply crossing off any reasons you might have for not giving them your full attention.

Torche’s Harmonicraft gets…

4/5

– DL

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