Published Sep 17, 2010Since the release of their 2008 sophomore effort Meanderthal, Torche - bassist Jonathan Nuñez, guitarist/vocalist Steve Brooks and drummer Rick Smith - have become one of doom/stoner metal's most adored cult acts. Their sensibility, which conjoins technically-influenced yet vast riffs with enduring vocal patterns, has confirmed them as uniquely creative and spawned a loyal fan base across the globe.
After a succession of EPs but no new full-length since Meanderthal, fans are itching for another LP. The band's upcoming Songs For Singles is yet another EP, clocking in at a modest 20 minutes. What's going on?
"We had a larger batch of songs but these were the ones we were happiest with," says Nuñez about the band's latest, an eight track affair, entitled Songs For Singles. "We also wanted to just move ahead and release something."
Nuñez asserts that while the band could have thrown together a collection of tunes and called it a complete album, that's not their style. The trio were adamant that their next release be a combination of technically-colossal riffs paired with fetching melodies. Unfortunately, while the songs came quickly, the same couldn't be said for lyrics and vocals.
"This music came very easily," he recalls. "Songs were finished in six practices. We recorded that quickly but vocals were never worked on, we were concentrating so hard on the songs. Once we started recording, we realized how far behind vocals were. It became stressful."
With much of that responsibility falling to the principal vocalist, Brooks had his work cut out for him. Assisted by humble interjections from Nuñez and Smith, Torche eventually found themselves at an impasse whereby the only resolution was to release the strongest tunes as an EP.
"He [Brooks] is generally the one working the hardest on that," Nuñez concedees. "We'll offer advice on lines or words but that's it. We were overdoing it, getting too far into them. Any stress came down to vocals on these songs so we thought, 'We're happy with these. Let's just release them and move on.'"
Songs For Singles is undeniably catchy, easily the band's most resolutely infectious and approachable release to date. Far from a tepid stop-gap, it sates the immediate pangs for new Torche music with memorable hooks and atmospheric girth. Appreciative yet cautious, Nuñez dismisses the notion that Songs For Singles is motivated by intent to become popular on a larger scale.
"We're not about the jingles. You know those commercials for credit reports? I hate that shit and we try not to be like that. We're fans of a lot of different styles and write catchy hooks, 'cause they tie the song together into being memorable."
Unforgettable and accessible but clearly within Torche's congenital parameters, Songs For Singles is a pillar unto itself. Still, it can't help but inspire another set of queries. If these are the songs that were finished quickly, what got left behind? What are we to expect from the unfinished tracks, as well as the mythical full-length we've been waiting for?
"There's almost a half-hour there and we have eight songs that weren't finished, so maybe we can have a follow-up EP by spring," he concludes. "Maybe we'll work on a full-length over winter. Who knows? Song For Singles is just short of a full-length but let people call it what they want. It's just music to us. Besides, we've got some brand new jams we're excited on."
Songs for Singles is out September 21 via Hydra Head.