Torres’ Three Futures is one of 2017’s most noteworthy indie releases and perhaps its best at dealing with gender issues in a courageous fashion. When recording the album, Brooklynite Mackenzie Scott, who uses Torres as her creative name, couldn’t have known about the sex scandals that would occur in popular culture in the late part of this year. However, there are resonances in her work to ideas of agency for females (for all gender identifications, really) to make choices about their bodies and private lives that both celebrate consensual relationships and protect themselves from exploitative behavior.
While the recording’s lyrics are powerful, and occasionally audacious, they are matched by equally compelling music. Torres has incorporated a broader range of synthesizers into her sound and layers of these are placed alongside her adroit rhythm guitar playing and a catchy spate of rhythms from bass and drums. Although the arrangements supply a great deal of variety using this instrumental template, it is likely Torres’ voice that listeners will remember most clearly. An alto with a chocolate-tinged lower register and secure upper notes, her singing alternately croons, growls, and dips into a sepulchral chest voice. Like the idea of Three Futures, the singing effectively takes on these three roles, replicating varying identities with poise, power, and sympathy. Recommended.
“Three Futures” on KEXP (YouTube).
“New Skin” live on KEXP (YouTube).