Scorces - "Romance is not a Thing of the Past" (I Turn Into You)
An erotic poem fills the back cover of I Turn Into You. While sex never hurt anyone’s sales, I doubt that’s the motivation for singer-guitarists Christina Carter (of Charalambides and countless duos) and Heather Leigh Murray (ex-Charalambides, Taurpis Tula) to include it here. Its themes of imagination, longing, giving, restraint and letting go speak directly to what’s happening on Scorces’ first record in five years. It contrasts mightily with the duo’s first eponymous recording, an overwhelming onslaught of uninhibited, wordless vocalizing and massive chord organ drones. While they needed some level of attunement to make such music, it was more about the unrelenting exercise of power.
This double LP’s five tracks, on the other hand, are full of space. Only the first piece, “Coming To A Forgotten Part,” features both women singing and playing at the same time. The others work through several possible combinations of pedal steel guitar, electric guitar, and one or two throats, always leaving a clear view of each sound’s position in relation to another’s. This time when the air moves, it’s because a note has gained girth going through an amp’s cranked reverb.
Murray and Carter are also summoning different emotions than they did while together in Charalambides. The first Scorces record was pretty fearsome, veering between utter terror and an eerie lack of affect. I Turn Into You has its share of spookiness, especially on the opening and closing tracks when both women sing and Carter’s electric guitar tolls vibrating chords. But when they pare back to one voice and one steel guitar, vulnerability and careful attention manifest. The steel’s licks ripple and swell, sometimes enfolding the voice, sometimes moving in time with it. Murray even resorts to words on “Romance is Not a Thing of the Past” to make the longing concrete, not because she needed to, but out of the freedom and willingness to speak in all tongues.
While it might look like a tough slog to play the record all the way, I advise you to do so; by taking in all four sides, you’ll better grasp the enormity of Scorces’ accomplishment here. I only have one complaint about this record — the pressing quality. Loud and crackly, it’s vinyl that only a fetishist could love, and it serves this music poorly.