When I first heard that Torous had put together an acoustic project I was more than a little bit intrigued. Not because I didn’t think that the band would have something like this in their locker but because so much of their sound is made up of huge riffs and mega guitars that I wasn’t sure what a Torous acoustic record would sound like.
The last thing that I heard from the band music wise was their EP Dried Bones which was released last summer. It was a good record no doubt, but on the flipside I was also pretty critical elements of if it so I was really interested to hear how the band would translate that kind of sound and feel into the acoustic arena.
The answer, maybe a little surprisingly (That might also be a tad harsh) is effortlessly. Paint The Sky works remarkably well. The first and title track immediately quells any fears that the EP is jgoing to come off as awkward. Despite their reputation for having ‘riffs for days’ the band sound right at home winding their way around an acoustic guitar, and stripped back drum beat. This track feels very much in the ‘unplugged’ lane. It doesn’t feel like an acoustic song, more of a mega rock song being performed in a power cut. I hate to use the lazy MTV unplugged comparison, but the song is exactly in that style.
By contrast Feed The Fire sounds like it was built to be performed like this. The stripped back and streamlined feel that you get from acoustic fits really well alongside the band’s Celtic Rock roots. I spoke when reviewing the band previously about the vocal being more solid than spectacular, and I stand by that, but here it works in the band’s favour. It performs incredibly well alongside the little rhythms and drum fills which punctuate the track(s) and does shine through really well. I like the changes of pace here too, the guitar work is really well executed, and the song as a whole feels a lot more concise and clearly defined than some of the band’s bigger and louder material.
The EP’s final offering is an instrumental track called The One Is. It’s got quite a slow and atmospheric build until a deft acoustic rhythm takes over. The band deviates from the brief slightly as a fantastic slice of electric guitar really does all of the heavy lifting taking the song by the scruff of the neck. It’s such a kind of ‘nothing’ comment but this is one of those tracks to close your eyes and just vibe to. You can so easily get lost in it, but again it retains a very clear definition and tight knit feel. That’s something which has really impressed me about the record as a whole.
I know people including me write this kind of thing a lot but I really didn’t have a clue what I was going to get when I hit play on these three tracks but I must say that I am more than pleasantly surprised. I think the biggest compliment that I can give is that it all sounds so natural. Despite their penchant for all things loud and hard rocking the band seem completely at home with recordings that are more delicate than eardrum destroying.
All in all this is a very high quality little outing for the trio. They aren’t afraid to do something a little different, a fact which deserves applauding in itself, but even more so when you discover that it sounds so good.