“What An Enormous Room” pulled me into its world with its inviting and hypnotic tones.
From the opening track, “Happy man’s shoes,” Mackenzie Scott, better known as Torres, shapes the room with her funky and experimental sounds across 10 tracks.
Since 2015’s “Sprinter,” Torres has been one of my favorite singer-songwriters. I’ve admired her unique take on bedroom pop songs and introspective lyrics.
Her sixth album, released Friday, Jan. 26, 2024, “What An Enormous Room” was recorded in 2022 and last September at Stadium Heights Sound in Durham, North Carolina. The New York City songwriter was joined by Sarah Jaffe, who played bass, synths, drums, organ, and piano. Mackenzie sang vocals, played guitar, bass, synths, organ, piano, and programmed drums. Additional synth bass, tambourine, and shakers were played by TJ Allen.
I was reminded of those early years on “I got the fear,” one of my favorite tracks on the album. She channels an Elliott Smith vibe with a simple beat and drops gems like “And the dread doesn’t pay any rent money,” and delivers a bomb in the outro:
“Though my usual tricks aren’t working
And our only world is burning
And even what is only real in my head
Destroys me, are we all doomed
To fulfill this prophecy?”
You can hear the powerful and wry delivery in “Collect” when she says, “Did I hit a nerve?”
“This song is about justice being served. The rage song I’ve been trying to write for years,” she said in a statement about the song.
I get lost in the deep synths that line the walls of “Artificial limits,” and then punctuate the song’s direction through the bridge.
The album takes its name from the spoken-word intro for “Jerk Into Joy,” which then blends into a beautiful upbeat dream-pop track, marking the highlight of the album. It is inspiring both in its sound and its lyrics:
“If I could get out of my way
Maybe I’d find a place to start.”
That upbeat vibe carries through into “Forever home,” evoking its own unique imagery:
“Drinking black coffee by age three
‘Cause there wasn’t much to eat
She claims she’s only short because of caffeine.”
The album closes with the piano-driven “Songbird forever,” pairing Scott’s voice alone with the keys in a stark choice that highlights her dedication to her craft.
The songs are short, and Torres packs a lot of emotion into each song – with 10 tracks spanning a mere 35 minutes and 51 seconds – leaving fans wanting more like a punk rock EP.
While Torres just left a stop at The Foundry on Jan. 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, she continues to tour worldwide.
Happy Man’s Shoes
I Got the Fear
Jerk Into Joy