Review Summary: Torche expand their musical horizons crafting an album that's a real treat within the realm of stoner rock.
It's particularly striking how effective Torche have been when it comes to carving their own niche within the realm of stoner rock. Once exploring the bludgeoning sludge genre, Miami-based outfit transformed their style quite significantly on their previous full-length album Meanderthal
. Namely, they incorporated a multitude of various pop and alternative rock influences into their work, which resulted in a new, truly refreshing brand of heavy rock, adorably categorized as stoner pop by the band and critics alike. As well-crafted as Meanderthal
and the EP that followed were, Harmonicraft
brings the act's signature style to the new heights. While delving into several new exciting musical territories on occasion, the album retains Torche's aptitude for crafting arresting pop-induced tunes that abound with empowering melodies as well as distinctively upbeat musicianship.
The songs may still be short and up-to-the-point, yet there's hardly anything rudimentary about them. Every single track is proficiently executed combining fuzzed-out guitar play and constantly pulsating rhythm section with hyper-melodic, often infectiously angular vocals. More than any of their previous releases, Harmonicraft
relies on adventurous dynamics which give a welcome sense of urgency to the majority of tracks. Soundgarden echoing “Letting Go” is a perfect opener which sets the uplifting tone for the entire record. “Kicking” follows suit with its markedly infectious vocal melodies and stomping rhythms, while “Walk It Off” showcases the punk rock vibe due to its ultra-fast pace. In contrast, “Reverse Inverted” would work as a perfect counterpart to Unsane's “No Chance” with its wonderfully dissonant guitar soloing that builds to a harmonious Southern rock climax. “In Pieces” brings a welcome shift in atmospherics evoking a sinister vibe with its angular approach to rhythm and enigmatic vocal delivery that instantly recall Melvins.
While the rest of the disc rather effortlessly combines the stoner rock arrangements with pop aesthetics embracing both sheer heaviness and lofty melodies in equal measure, Torche manage to surprise in the last quarter of the disc with a couple of notably different tracks. “Solitary Traveler” marks their foray into a doom metal territory blending eminent slow pace with dreamy, shoegaze inclined guitarwork to soothing effect, whereas the instrumental title track boasts a captivating, bizarrely mechanical rhythmic pattern. With its drone tendencies and lumbering tone, “Looking On” might be a by-the-numbers closer for the stoner rock album, yet its less-is-more approach brings a sense of relief to the album that's packed with ideas.
One can argue that the greatest virtue of Torche is that they can appeal to every music fan by means of the huge spectrum of influences that their music encompasses. Bearing in mind their omnipresent pop tendencies, they also happen to be an ideal introductory act for someone who is a novice to the ever-growing genre of stoner rock. Harmonicraft
solidifies the quartet's enviable reputation as one of the most note-worthy heavy rock outfits working today. The album is so meticulously crafted and emotionally resonant that it may even break new ground for the band in terms of mainstream popularity. They've been deserving conspicuous success for way too long now.