Arriving ten years after his debut, Pearls to Swine is the spacious sophomore LP from Austin-based singer/songwriter Adam Torres. While few had access to Nostra Nova, Torres' compelling 2006 small-batch release, the chamber folk opus slowly gained an air of cult status, finally earning itself a proper national reissue from Misra Records in 2015. As for its creator, Torres moved on from his college days in Athens, Ohio, dedicating several years to charity work in South America and eventually landing in the Lonestar State for graduate school and life beyond academia. He emerged just once in 2012 with a set of ethereal, lo-fi demos released in a limited run by a Washington, D.C. cassette label. His reemergence as a performer and the mystique of his brief back catalog landed him a deal with Fat Possum, yielding this dusty, lonesome follow-up. More focused than his comparatively sprawling debut, Pearls to Swine was tracked live to tape with Torres' lofty, warbling falsetto and delicate guitar picking accompanied by violinist Aisha Burns, percussionist Thor Harris (of Swans fame), and bassist/pianist Dailey Toliver. Almost cinematic in tone and timbre, these are songs of the contemporary indie folk rambler, evoking scenic beauty and the journeys of both mind and body. At his best, Torres offers bucolic road meditations like "High Lonesome" and paeans to the natural world like "Mountain River," honing in his soaring toward an earthbound nadir. If the rest of the album is a hair more mystical in scope, his wide, introspective vistas are still quite compelling.
AllMusic Review by Timothy Monger