An unexpected CD showed up in my mailbox the other day, a pre-release copy of a new album entitled Hex by a band out of North Carolina called Three Torches. I’d never heard of them before, and wasn’t expecting anything in the mail from them, but I’m not one to refuse a musical invitation, so into the CD player it went.
The “About” section of the Three Torches Facebook page describes the band’s sound as “junkyard jazz and latinesque emanating from a scratchy radio in a late model vehicle w/ expired tags,” and I’m definitely buying it. My guess is the ashtray is full of butts and there are some questionable stains on the upholstery as well, because the music is a bit old-timey and the vocals booze-soaked. Some songs are of woeful regret and others salsa-esque, all of them calling to mind certain slightly rundown neighborhoods, the kinds where you find the most interesting bars and the greasy spoons that have the best all-day breakfasts, whether you’re just getting started with your day when you walk in at 6AM or just ending it.
Methuselah and Medusa, one-eyed kids and monkeys on your back, they’re the types of things that populate Three Torches’ world. It’s not a cheery place, and the deliberateness of the strong rhythm section keeps the pace slow like a tired drunk trying to walk a straight line, while the guitar sometimes keeps pace and at others shoots out like an electric boomerang before quacking coming back to the hand that threw it to once again join the beat. The vocals have a wandering restlessness, with even the more crooning numbers like “Wherever Dreams Go” retaining a certain weariness-of-life, I-can-take-it-or-leave-it quality to them. It’s music for the perpetually down on their luck, but also for those who achieved a certain level of satisfaction in being able to afford smokes and booze and still have enough game to occasionally bring a like-minded lady home for the evening.
You can check out some of Three Torches’ tracks HERE, a number of which will appear on Hex when it’s released (no official date at this time).