TORRES: Silver Tongue (Merge) Review | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
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Silver Tongue


Jan 30, 2020 Web Exclusive Bookmark and Share

It’s been a torrid few years for Mackenzie Scott, better known by her creative alter ego TORRES. Three Futures, her third album and her first for 4AD, was released in September 2017 to substantial acclaim from critics and fans alike. It seemed a match made in heaven, Scott was a huge fan of the iconic UK indie label, and they, in turn, seem convinced that Three Futures would be TORRES’ big commercial breakthrough. However, by April 2018, after disappointing sales, the relationship had soured and Scott tweeted “My former label, @4AD_Official, has decided to drop me from a 3 album deal for not being commercially successful enough. I wish them all the best. Also, fuck the music industry.”

It was a dark time for the now 29-year-old singer-songwriter who became so disillusioned with the brutal dissembling nature of the music business she considered quitting it completely and stopped writing. However after a period of reflection the urge to express herself resurfaced and Scott began a prolonged period of writing, the outcome initially may have been unclear but the need to create still burned brightly. The result is TORRES’ fourth album, Silver Tongue, and also the first to be completely self-produced after sharing production duties on her previous three releases. It’s a logical progression from her preceding work, there are no wild changes of direction as thematically Scott focuses on relationships, specifically desire, infatuation, vulnerability, and what it means to be in love.

It’s an album that swings between existential bleakness to soaring emotion. Throughout, Silver Tongue is illuminated by moments of dazzling warmth, clarity, and heartfelt beauty, be it a vocal inflexion, a melody, a sparkling guitar flourish, or a poetically insightful turn of phrase. “Last Forest” is classic TORRES, beginning with a repetitive folksy incantation before exploding into glittering life, mixing austere synths, driving beats, and coruscating guitars. “Dressing America” positively shimmers with mournful splendour. Like previous TORRES albums, Silver Tongue is a body of work that becomes more expansive and reveals further layers with every listen.

There is much to admire here as Scott embraces a vortex of emotions. Previous single “Gracious Day,” for example, beautifully holds a mirror up to how exposed love can make us. Elsewhere the driving grunge guitars on “Good Grief” provide a backdrop to the knowing lyrics that affectionately mock the notion of wallowing in a poetic version of idealized sadness, whilst revealing Scott’s own vulnerability.

Silver Tongue was written in real-time rather than a reflective wistful look back at the past and therefore isn’t varnished with the protective veneer of hindsight, resulting in an emotionally raw and painfully honest album.

Despite the trials and tribulations, Scott retains her skill for writing beautifully judged songs of candour, power, and potent beauty. Silver Tongue is an album that once again demonstrates what an insightful and empathetic artist she is as she explores the highs and lows of relationships and love. (

Author rating: 8/10

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Average reader rating: 7/10


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