Torres, Aero Flynn, Landmarks | Empty Bottle | Rock, Pop, Etc | Chicago Reader
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Torres, Aero Flynn, Landmarks Early Warnings (Music) Recommended Soundboard

When: Thu., May 21, 9 p.m. 2015
Price: $12, $10 in advance
Adopted at birth by a Baptist family in Georgia, Mackenzie Scott (aka Torres) now lives in Brooklyn, and at 24 she’s already fled her faith and turned back toward it—a tug-of-war that consumes most of her sophomore album, the new Sprinter (Partisan). Her band consists of coproducers Robert Ellis (bass) and Adrian Utley (guitar, synth) and drummer Ian Olliver; Ellis and Olliver played on PJ Harvey’s Dry, while Utley is in Portishead, and both pedigrees show: the album’s wiry, toothy rock is sometimes grafted to an electronic pulse or dialed back to a guitar tick-tock and ominous, swelling synths. (For this tour Scott is accompanied by Dominic Cipolla of the Phantom Family Halo on drums, Cameron Kapoor on guitar, and Erin Manning on keyboard, key bass, and backing vocals.) Scott’s voice can be delicate and lovely or imperious and commanding, and at moments of high emotion—anger, grief, longing, love—it bursts through its own skin with a crackle of torn edges. On the title track she attempts to atone for her eagerness to rush to judgment as a teenager, when she partook of the cruel certainty that the evangelical cultural bubble can foster in believers. “If there’s still time to choose the sun,” she sings, “I’ll choose the sun.” And “Strange Hellos” addresses the Christian imperative to love one’s enemies: atop lonely guitar plunks like stones dropped into a well, her vocals barely above a whisper, Scott tries to forgive someone she hates who’s lost her mother to mental illness. Then after the band crashes in, she snarls, “What’s mine isn’t really yours / But I hope you find what you’re looking for,” finally landing on an acidic “I love you all the same.” As a fellow former southerner and an extremely lapsed Christian, I’m happy to see a follower of the Big J (albeit no longer a churchgoer) wrestling with the injunction to live a Christlike life—it beats fighting to take away poor people’s health care or telling homosexuals they’re going to hell. —Philip Montoro
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