Torres

Silver Tongue

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AllMusic Review by

To say that Torres' Mackenzie Scott had a rough 2018 is a bit of an understatement. Six months after she released her 4AD debut, Three Futures, the label released her from her contract; despite its considerable critical acclaim, it didn't meet their commercial expectations. Coupled with the end of a relationship and a family health scare, it's no wonder that Scott contemplated giving up music entirely during this period of time. Fortunately for her and her listeners, she didn't. If Silver Tongue is anything to go by, coping with these changes and losses has opened her art and given it new purpose: As she digs into feeling knocked sideways for reasons good and bad, Scott reveals the big heart behind her music like never before. Silver Tongue is her first album for the stalwart indie label Merge, and it's also the first album she's produced completely by herself. It's no surprise, then, that its sound balances the rawness of Torres and Sprinter and the abstract atmospheres of Three Futures with a light yet confident touch. On "Last Forest," electronic textures hover and rotate like sound sculptures while charging guitars add a heroic quality, heightening the feeling that the love Torres is singing about is so rare and true that it stands the test of time -- and maybe even defies time itself. On some of Silver Tongue's most affecting moments, she embraces the cowboy romance of her Southern roots and reinvents it to reflect her truth as a lesbian. "I tend to sleep with my boots on/Should I need to gallop over dark water/To you/On short notice," Scott sings on "Dressing America," challenging her partner to be as brave as she is. On "Good Scare," she flirts with a twang: "You make me want to write the country song folks here in New York get a kick out of." She's an even sharper observer and songwriter than she was on Three Futures, whether she's addressing a rival with a compelling mix of tenderness and pain on the luminous "Two of Everything" or using the subtle shifts of meaning in a line like "I don't want you going home anymore/I want you coming home" to their fullest on the stunning "Gracious Day." Like Torres' previous album, Silver Tongue takes some time to unfold, but it's well worth it; by fluently expressing the resilience it takes to bounce back from hard times, she comes into her own.

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