As the revival of folk music that was first spearheaded a few years ago by acts such as Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros, The Lumineers and Of Monsters and Men continues, it’s very exciting to see a renewal of the traditional singer-songwriter movement as well. Adam Torres is just one of many Americana/roots solo musicians who have popped up over the past few years, including Jason Isbell, Andrew Bird, The Tallest Man on Earth, etc. Torres is a bit of a prodigy, if you will. He released his debut album Nostra Nova when he was just 20 years old. He is also quite prolific, having released more than 100 songs since 2006. However, despite being quite fruitful with his songwriting, Adam Torres has yet to find widespread success. However his new album, Pearls To Swine, his debut LP on Fat Possum Records, is sure to change that.
Pearls To Swine, is a sizzler of a record, one that will likely catapult Torres into a much greater spotlight. The instant Torres’ falsetto vocals register on the opening track, “Juniper Arms,” there is a very special feeling that comes over the listener. His singing on this track is surprising and gorgeous, and the vocal truly makes “Juniper Arms” an extraordinary standout. “Juniper Arms” was inspired by the book Desert Solitare by Edward Abbey and unquestionably evokes a presence of serenity and fundamentalism. If there’s one track that must be listened to on Pearls To Swine, it’s definitely this one. Although the opening track is definitely the best of the LP, the rest of the nine-track release is likewise impeccable. Songs such as “Morning Rain” and “Outlands” spew an aura of expertise that feels almost supernatural. As landscapes, the environment and nature are an overarching motif of this album, this is a placid and docile work that feels well suited as a soundtrack to long hikes.
One additional element that must be mentioned is Torres’ use of strings throughout this album. On “Some Beast Will Find You By Name,” “Daydream” and various other tunes, Aisha Burns’ violin magnifies the intensity and dreamlike quality to Torres’ songs immensely. The conga and percussion playing by Thor Harris of Swans on “Outlands” also adds significantly to the atmosphere. The instrumental work by the session musicians on Pearls To Swine may be rather remarkable, as is the production work by Erik Wofford, but at the end of the day, it’s Torres’ natural soundscapes and elaborate imagery that brilliantly twinkles throughout this piece of art.