IN SEARCH OF SPACE #17- Torche - Torche

“Rock like rock shouldn’t be: a rock that your parents wouldn’t just love, given a chance, but one that they’d ask you to play again, louder. It ain’t right, obviously. But it rocks brilliantly”
Mike Diver – BBC

“The general message seems clear enough: space is cool, and life is awesome. Maybe it's a metaphor.”
Wentz_Equals_Death –

Well it’s the end of summer, or more precisely the end of the ridiculous university summer hiatus and soon it will be back to the liver-straining rigours of academia for I. As such, this week it’s been a listening week for the instant fun albums. In that spirit, Torche. Okay so what the fuck is up with Torche? The doom-pop thunder rock Miami quartet play some of the thickest licks around in guitarist Steve Brooks trademark ‘bomb-string’ detonation detune; they take elements from hardcore punk, stoner metal and their own unique aesthetic and supercollide it all together in records that aren’t quite like anything you’ve heard before. Yet they produce some of the most instantly gratifying, catchy tunes coming out of metal today. Each Torche record offers up another savoury half-hour of blessed-out stoner beats that have any Kyuss song blushing with envy and sound like Simon Cowell signed the Melvins, in the best possible way. Any of their albums or EPs would be more than worthy of an In Search of Space autopsy but the genesis of a sound is always it’s most interesting moment; a band’s first record is always the most fascinating so I bring you Torche’s debut self titled album, and dontcha just love that artwork?

You could remove all of the entries from my Summer Sounds Sampler and substitute it for Torche, Meanderthal and In Return and have the perfect summer playlist. Sunlight reflects off these songs, beams out of the speakers. They don’t sound right lest the sound is drifting through that three pm sunlight that seems to catch on the air. The bassy stoner grooves running down low under the music are bisected by a sine wave of high, stratospheric anthemic rocket that sends Torche records into orbit. It is so transcendent you almost forget the thudding backing, I remember listening to Lay Low from the 2010 Songs for Singles EP and thinking how much heavier it was than I first thought. One becomes so caught up in the little blissful intricacies of Torche’s constructions that the overall thundering heaviness passes by like a train in a summer meadow.

Punk was important, vitally important to music. Punk looked at the rock music of the sixties, the seventies right at the point where it was lapsing into self parody; punk saw this, and loathed it, they looked at music like new tenants looking at a broken down old house. Not seeing the fine detailing but seeing the potential. Looking at how many solos, riffs et cetera were actually required for a song (take a look at Wire’s Pink Flag if you don’t believe me) and Torche really do that to stoner rock. At one side of musical deconstruction, we have something like Earth or the Melvins, bands which seek to disassemble music, in Earth by stripping it to its constituent parts and poignantly asking ‘where is the chariot?’ while the Melvins are far more stage magicians, cutting the music in half in a blaze of cape sweeps and smoke bombs and letting you wonder how they managed it. Punk was different. They presented what could be analogised to vitamin and protein pills to seventies prog’s wild feasts where the actual act of eating has been lost beneath luxurious ceremony. Punk is cold, hard, rough and stripped to its barest elements. What is the least we can create to still produce a song? And this is what Torche bring to the stoner/doom/drone scene. Doom songs less than a minute long, but with more ideas than a lot of the cynically created ten minute plus doom out there. Rich distortion tapestries weaving intricate paths through a maze of dark fuzzy trees needn’t take all afternoon to get to the point, Torche cry. You know you’ve encountered an important band when they change the way you look at other music. After becoming addicted to this Torche record I began to ask, why does the doom genre need songs ten minutes long, and albums that push the storage limits of CDs, when Torche can give me more in a third of the time?

Written under duress by Steven

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