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Torche: Harmonicraft

Album Review

When doom cheers up.

Florida’s Torche may have their roots firmly planted in the fertile soil of doom and stoner rock, but, as their third album demonstrates, they’re a pretty tricky bunch to herd into a box.

Harmonicraft is an absolute joy, skilfully interweaving the elephantine riffs fans have come to expect with the elegant mid-90s post-hardcore artfulness of Jawbox and Quicksand, and adding a vocal otherworldliness that shares airspace with Jane’s Addiction, riffage akin to Helmet’s gloriously grizzled metal chops, and the complex grunge guitar histrionics of Dinosaur Jr. And then they up that ante even further by throwing in the kind of melodies and air of celebration that made the world fall in love with Foo Fighters. 

But there is much, much more to Harmonicraft than the culmination of an excellent record collection. They’re down a guitarist – Juan Montoya left in 2008 – but the stunning interplay between Steve Brooks and Andrew Elstner, combined with a thunderous rhythm section, makes sure they’re as devastating as ever. 

Picking up and progressing from where 2008’s wonderful Meanderthal left off, the sludge-goes-pop of tracks like Kicking and Kiss Me Dudely display a deft lightness of touch that should be impossible – but then if something as seemingly un-aerodynamic as a bumblebee can fly, there’s no reason why Torche can’t too.

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