Torche | ‘Harmonicraft’
It’s fitting that Torche’s latest effort seems to have appeared at the same time that the country basked in some of the finest weather it’s ever had for this time of the year.
‘Harmonicraft’ carries the promise of it’s hyperactive, sugar-laden artwork all too well. This is a band all about good times in the face of adversity, a skull-splittingly heavy cocktail of low end crush combined with the purest of pop sensibilities.
Their last effort, 2010′s mini album, ‘Songs for Singles’, was an extremely enjoyable record.
Fast when it needs to be – vocals hooks abounded, along with heavy riffing and a rhythm section that was second to none. Anyone who witnessed their blitz of a performance in Dublin and Belfast a couple of years ago needs no convincing how fun this band can be.
What’s great about ‘Harmonicraft’ is how things come so thick and fast. The first track that really lands a blow is the simplistic crunch of ‘Kicking’. It’s a song about kicking, and it literally sounds as energetic as that. It comes and goes quickly, delivering exactly what’s required and then gets the hell out of your speakers and makes room for the next track. There’s little to complain about.
There’s a sense of abandon here that’s to be savored. The frenetic pace of a track like ‘Walk it Off’ makes use of vocalist Steve Brook’s style perfectly – some crafted syllables soaring with great effect above a riot of screaming guitar and juddering tone.
The spirit of the heaviest of Smashing Pumpkins songs are scattered about this – though vocally they share nothing with that band. Imagine something like ‘Hummer’ stripped down to the bare bones, sped up, with even more tone added. It’s that enjoyable.
We still have elements of their drone / sludge past coming to the fore at times. Album closer ‘Looking On’ brings the best of what Floor could do into sharp relief, all expansive chords and echoing vocals.
It’s a quick but highly enjoyable listen. They seemed to have stripped things down even mores than before, with an average running time of three minutes per track, there’s no messing about.
It’s not exactly the most metal thing you’ll hear this year. In fact, they’ve probably lightened out somewhat since that last record. But it’s fast, catchy, and packs a hell of punch. There’s a sense of humor in there as well that doesn’t go amiss, with a track title like ‘Kiss Me Dudely’ (which features a great vocal hook), you can hear how much fun the members of the group are having.
The record may not have the more crafted tracks of their fine ‘Meanderthal’ release, but it’s even more direct and enjoyable for that.
This is an album that’s fast, pounding, and pretty much life-affirming. It’s a dream to cycle to and will make you do whatever you’re doing a little bit faster.
4 / 5 - Lorcan Archer ::: 31/03/12