Torche

Songs for Singles (Hydra Head)

Phases & Stages

Torche

Songs for Singles (Hydra Head)

Torche has slowly turned a corner. Beginning on 2005's self-titled bow, the Miami metalheads improved upon the sludge breakdown of their predecessors (like singer/guitarist Steve Brooks' semilegendary 1990s band Floor), with most songs hinging on the start-stop-annihilate formula. Meanderthal three years later found them ramping up tempos and experimenting with more anthemic structures. Now, recorded as a trio in the aftermath of guitarist Juan Montoya's exit, the eight-track Songs for Singles makes a case for the power of three. Opener "U.F.O." head-bangs into "Lay Low," half-octopus drummer Rick Smith never missing a fill, and on "Arrowhead," Brooks almost sounds like he's channeling Jane's Addiction via Guided by Voices. "Face the Wall" slows the proceedings, but with the exception of it and closer "Out Again," songs never get beyond three minutes. Epic has been replaced by efficiency. (Torche makes a left at Red 7 Friday, Sept. 24.)

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