In this age of music consumption, I find myself listening to albums in a way that wouldn’t have been done fifteen years ago. I’ll often listen through one time, extract the songs I like into a playlist, and rarely go back to it in album form if it’s not one of my absolute favorites. I’ll often measure albums on how many good to great songs I can pull from it, or the ratio of those to the total number of songs. If you listen to music that way, and I’m pretty sure most people my age do, “Thirstier” will be a very memorable experience, otherwise, it might seem like less than the sum of its parts.
The parts themselves are great. Over the last decade, TORRES has built a strong discography around whip-smart lyrics, genre fusions and emotive guitar work, and those are all here and putting on a show. Opening tracks are usually some of my least favorite songs to listen and relisten to because of how much they need the album around them to really hit, so it was refreshing to see “Are You Sleepwalking?” just go for it and be fun and hard-hitting on its own terms. The lead single “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head” combines her country-adjacent vocal style with a pulsating base of synthesizers and a driving rock beat that turns what could have been overly wordy choruses into butter. This song feels like if The Killers remixed her previous best songs and it had me very excited to hear the rest of the project. The album finishes strong too. A glitchy electronic drumbeat propels “Kiss the Corners” into your memory immediately, but it’s kept there by instantly iconic vocal harmonies in the chorus. And “Hand in the Air” finds its groove instantly and stays in it the whole time, with subtle but attention-grabbing piano parts leading into warm walls of sound that mirror the urgent and powerful vocal delivery.
The issue, therefore, isn’t the foundations or the highlights they produced, but the uneven pacing. I pretty much skipped over the whole middle for a reason, there isn’t much there to talk about. Nothing here is bad by any means, but it just doesn’t click in that ethereal way the best songs on the album figured out how to do. “Big Leap” has a mournful tone that hooked me in, but the narrative being told felt a little unfocused and I wasn’t taken to where I felt the song wanted me to go. Both “Hug From a Dinosaur” and “Thirstier,” both felt slightly clunky; either a chorus that didn’t land or sounding just too overblown for their own good. And all of these otherwise small issues are magnified when they’re all stuffed into one section.
Now, this isn’t a big deal if you listen to albums like I do. The aforementioned highlights truly are highlights and songs that I don’t see leaving my music rotation for a long time. If that’s how the album is remembered, then it’s another classic from TORRES. But if you prefer to knock out entire albums in one sitting multiple times, then you might be skipping more tracks than you’d want.
– Erie Mitchell