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Torrez - The Evening Drag

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Artist: Torrez

Album: The Evening Drag

Label: Kimchee

Review date: Jan. 27, 2003

Dragging at Night


To most, the endearing thing about Torrez comes from their Portsmouth, NH roots. Needless to say, any alternative weekly scribe or internet biographer [or music reviewer, for that matter] starts there. It seems any act not from some metropolitan scene is an anomaly.

It so follows that their music evokes said environment. Portsmouth, then, is a kind of Twin Peaks wonderland. Snow falling in large chunky flakes, flickering windows hinting at the whiskey-soaked air of an unfinished basement. In the center of the second-hand rug on the concrete floor, a local songbird flitters into a duct-taped microphone, flanked by a small group of multi-talented locals.

Listening to The Evening Drag, it's difficult not to get pulled into this romantic vision. Kimberlee Torres has that staid, elegant sound, not necessarily cute and not rough in any way; custom cut for late-night radio. Her capable bandmates duteously color a noir soundscape: brushed snares, maintained tremolo, chiming reverb. Our old friend the mellowtron serves to fill the scenery.

The band makes every effort to put you in the mood, as well, from the blood-red window on the cover to titles like "Trembling/Freezing" and "A New Despair." Indeed, a drum track was even recorded at "the Electric Cave." Combined with the lush audio wthin, Torrez crafts a work with all the weight and warmth of a midnight moon.

Torrez does have a tendency to plod a bit with each song in a similar tempo. The trend of overly-swooning production also dominates the album. But, this in fact is the precise reason people will be drawn to it. There are no punk rock covers, no hidden tracks and no real surprises. The album's climax, "The Evening Sun," is a kind of reward, its trance-induced percussion keeping you contained as the cello and omnichord spin you around. Other standout tracks include the scene-setting opener "The Girls Will Haunt You, and the almost spiritual "The Flame," with its pleasant repetition and reverse.

If you're in the mood for a dreamy, mournful soundtrack, Torrez delivers. It the kind of thing you might find on repeat, in the kitchen after the party, wax fixing a placemat to the oak table someone had used as a pillow. The lone light over the sink attracting a moth or two. Ergo, the evening drag.

One of Boston's best indies, Kimchee, has a real fine debut on its hands. It will maintain consistent sales and is just the kind of album a band could base a career on. There is little doubt the band will move a couple of CDs at each rouge-lit gig, as curious couples will fall in love to their steady sound.

But it's up to Torres to maybe redraw a few of its patented sounds, and exceed a few expectations. Only then will they outgrow their anomalous roots.

By David Day

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