Adam Torres - Pearls To Swine

by Nathan Fidler Rating:5 Release Date:2016-09-09

It’s always heartening to hear a story of plucky musicians working hard for their recognition, forging - hopefully - some character. Adam Torres released his first album himself, letting it roll into a sleeper hit in the music scene of Ohio. Now, tied up with an official label, he releases his second album, Pearls Before Swine.

The ethereal singer-songwriter genre has never really gone away, but nor has it ever fully taken a grip in its droves. There’s the odd hit, and the number of these hits has increased slightly with the ability for an artist to become a cult favourite quicker than ever. Adam Torres goes after this landscape with falsetto and gentle, often whispy acoustic strumming.

It makes for a great combination early on in the album, with ‘Juniper Arms’ a sleepy delight. Torres sounds like he’s caterwauling into a cavern by firelight when he’s at his best, but the charm wears off after a few tracks.

The falsetto which should harmonise so well with the violins of ‘Morning Rain’ feels just a little off, not quite at comfort and almost strained. When he relaxes the height of his reach there is a more comfortable sound, and the aforementioned track lets the violins do a lot of the atmosphere building.

However, the second half of the album really is a turn off. The musicianship is great, with American sunsets crafted from shivering strings and tupping, tubbing percussions adding to this. But the lyrical sensibilities draw thin and the singing reveals itself to be one-dimensional in way which is disappointing.

A smoky landscape hovers in ‘Outlands’ which is the only saving grace of the second half of the album, but it’s really not enough to warrant listening to the entire album over again. Torres fails to capture the mind in the same way that the music does the heart, lacking any standout imagery or poetics to accompany his pieces. 

Additionally, the album title itself seems awfully odd. Are we the “swines” trampling his “pearls”? Apparently so.

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