Torche: Harmonicraft

When doom cheers up.

You can trust Louder Our experienced team has worked for some of the biggest brands in music. From testing headphones to reviewing albums, our experts aim to create reviews you can trust. Find out more about how we review.

Florida’s Torche may have their roots firmly planted in the fertile soil of doom and stoner rock, but, as their third album demonstrates, they’re a pretty tricky bunch to herd into a box.

Harmonicraft is an absolute joy, skilfully interweaving the elephantine riffs fans have come to expect with the elegant mid-90s post-hardcore artfulness of Jawbox and Quicksand, and adding a vocal otherworldliness that shares airspace with Jane’s Addiction, riffage akin to Helmet’s gloriously grizzled metal chops, and the complex grunge guitar histrionics of Dinosaur Jr. And then they up that ante even further by throwing in the kind of melodies and air of celebration that made the world fall in love with Foo Fighters.

But there is much, much more to Harmonicraft than the culmination of an excellent record collection. They’re down a guitarist – Juan Montoya left in 2008 – but the stunning interplay between Steve Brooks and Andrew Elstner, combined with a thunderous rhythm section, makes sure they’re as devastating as ever.

Picking up and progressing from where 2008’s wonderful Meanderthal left off, the sludge-goes-pop of tracks like Kicking and Kiss Me Dudely display a deft lightness of touch that should be impossible – but then if something as seemingly un-aerodynamic as a bumblebee can fly, there’s no reason why Torche can’t too.

Emma has been writing about music for 25 years, and is a regular contributor to Classic Rock, Metal Hammer, Prog and Louder. During that time her words have also appeared in publications including Kerrang!, Melody Maker, Select, The Blues Magazine and many more. She is also a professional pedant and grammar nerd and has worked as a copy editor on everything from film titles through to high-end property magazines. In her spare time, when not at gigs, you’ll find her at her local stables hanging out with a bunch of extremely characterful horses.