Same Guitar, Different Sound
The sound of Los Angeles local band TORCHES is the sound that the world has agreed to refer to as “indie.” Jangling and chiming guitars dominate every song, accompanied by swooping low key male/female vocal harmonies and fuzzy bass lines. All throughout If the People Stare, the band’s latest EP, that new-world indie feeling is hard to ignore. In spite of the fact that this is a band covering familiar ground in well-traveled lands, TORCHES has somehow managed to avoid becoming boring. It would be easy to get lost in the sea of indie-rock bands that ebb and flow all over LA every weekend, but a few always find ways to stand out. TORCHES sets itself apart by being a band that offers something more than the expected guitar hooks and the sweet harmonies.
If the People Stare opens on “When You Gonna,” a song that is as close to perfect pop as any band can get, but that also goes above and beyond the typical formula. There’s nothing straight forward about it, from the stilted rhythm to the lushly multi-layered sound, and it’s as interesting to listen to as it is pleasing to hear. Several melodies ring out against one another, occasionally getting lost and meshing into a cloud of sound. Luckily, the band has enough musical sense to be able to tell when things are getting out of hand; they pull back at just the right times and always manage to stay cohesive.
“Watched You Like a Hawk” is the centerpiece of the EP, as it sums up that TORCHES sound of symbiotic guitars and voices perfectly. A jangling fugue of melodies runs through the song from start to finish, built up with increasingly strong and forceful layers of rising and falling tones that cut off abruptly into silence just when the discord circles back around into perfect harmony. Where some bands rely on clever production tricks, TORCHES uses real musicianship. In a musical genre that would sometimes lead you to believe every single band is playing the same guitar through the same amp, pulling hooks out of the same song book, and mixing their records with the same producer, TORCHES is offering something unique and genuine.