Not a ton of awesome things come out of Macon, Georgia. But Macon-born Mackenzie Scott, better known by her stage name Torres (her grandfather’s surname), is awesome, albeit having an incredibly underwhelming following given said awesomeness. Currently residing in Brooklyn, she’s released her second full-length Sprinter, recorded in England and released just weeks after wowing fans and critics with her live performance at SXSW 2015.
On her debut Torres, we heard her on the brink of breaking into her confidence, and on Sprinter she is absolutely there, confident and powerful. The emotion in her low-pitched voice is similar to Anna Calvi and Chelsea Wolfe, although her guitar-wailing is not as comparable. She sounds almost haunting in “Son, You Are No Island” singing over a few guitar strings with her vocal tracks overlapping. And final track “The Exchange” features even fewer and quieter chords, so quiet that every breath and swallow from Torres is heard, while she throws us lines like “I am afraid to see my heroes age” and “Mother father I’m under water and I don’t think you can pull me out of this,” which refers strongly to her Southern Baptist upbringing.
And there’s a lot more great stuff happening lyrically. Torres is unapologetically direct and concise when it comes to addressing her feelings, which is heard in “New Skin”: “Lay off me would ya? I’m just trying to take this new skin for a spin / Who’s that trying to speak for me? What kind of love do they claim to be?” She sounds a little angrier in opener “Strange Hellos” and has amps and drums to back her up while she proclaims, “I was all for being real but if I don’t believe then no one will.”
Sprinter is an exciting and touching album and makes Mackenzie Scott sound like she could be older and wiser than just 24 years old.