Torche – 'Harmonicraft' (UK Release: 23 April '12) // Words: Simon Opie
The last time I reviewed Torche on FADED GLAMOUR I got jumped by an unknown assailant. So I approached new album 'Harmonicraft' with some trepidation. I have to say, three tracks in and trepidation had turned to a feeling of dread. But hey presto, 'Reverse Inverted' then takes the album off in a totally new, and unexpected direction – to my overwhelming relief.
EP 'Songs For Singles' was the last release in question and was Torche’s first as a three piece following the departure of guitarist Juan Montoya. For 'Harmonicraft', Torche are back up to four with the recruitment of guitarist Andrew Elstner to join frontman/guitarist Steve Brooks, bassist Jonathan Nunez and drummer Rick Smith. There’s now a U2-ishness to their sound – as a result of some The Edge-esque chiming which may be due to their new guitarist’s influence.
Certainly opening track 'Letting Go' is rather too U2 for my taste, and 'Kicking' and 'Walk It Off' blend U2 and Foo Fighters, in a way that isn’t bad, but is a tad predictable. Then 'Reverse Inverted' propels the album into a slower, heavier space that is where Torche find an original voice. And the rest of the album is just terrific with highlights including the anthemic 'Snakes Are Charmed', funky instrumental title track 'Harmonicraft' and majestic album closer 'Looking On'.
Torche are a DIY band, with a loyal following and a milestone album in 'Meanderthal' to their credit. As such they’ve earned the right to make whatever type of music they want, but I think they work best as a group when they play to their strengths and keep it heavy. Whilst that may be essentially what I said last time – and that got me into trouble – I stick with it.
Nonetheless, this album is really entertaining and deserves attention. Torche have never sounded tighter and Brooks’ voice is in great shape. 'Harmonicraft' just may be their best album yet, and I highly recommend it.
'Harmonicraft' is out now on Volcom, and is available to purchase at amazon.co.uk.