If the baby blue unicorns chomping sweets and exhaling rainbows on the cover of Torche’s 2012 album Harmonicraft didn’t quite give it away, the Miami-based quartet prefers to explore moods that don’t fit the stereotypes one would expect from the band’s often pummeling metallic sound. That said, “Admission,” the title track off the band’s fifth album (July 12, Relapse Records), is far and away the most openly personal song of Torche’s career.
In the past, frontman-guitarist Steve Brooks favored elliptical wordplay that certainly got listeners thinking but didn’t necessarily reveal much about his own feelings or even where he stood on whatever subject he was addressing. With “Admission,” though, Brooks drops his guard and lets the audience behind the curtain on his need to keep his guard up in the first place: “The fence is up for reasons/I cannot share/Yes, I will pretend/I don’t need to love again,” he sings alongside a mournful lead guitar wail that wouldn’t have been out of place on a Smiths tune or ’80s pop radio, even as it soars above a swirl of thick guitars and a galloping rhythm.
As it turns out, Torche bassist turned lead guitarist Jonathan Nunez — who doubles as the band’s in-house producer-engineer — also was experiencing a difficult time when he wrote the song. Having relocated to Los Angeles for two years, Nunez found himself cut off from his circle of musician peers after he got off the road with Torche, and all his recording gear was back in his native Miami (where he has since returned). Feeling glum, isolated and unable to throw himself into studio work, Nunez came up with “Admission” as a way to keep himself occupied — which, he says, accounts for the music’s undercurrent sense of motivation and drive.