Torres, aka Mackenzie Scott, made a grand leap from the folk style of her self-titled 2013 debut to the massive King Crimson-like shifts in guitar volume on its 2015 successor Sprinter
, thanks in part to the involvement of P.J. Harvey producer Rob Ellis. Three Futures
finds Torres and Ellis taking another leap forward, but with synthesizers largely replacing electric guitars. With lesser mortals, that might make for a mellower, quieter work, but the Tennessee-based Torres gives us a dozen tracks of stark, often frightening poetry. Superficially, the album is an ode to lesbian love and body space, but it’s also about precisely geolocated lyricism, as songs like “Skim” and the title track make specific references to Masonic lodges, Stonehenge climbing expeditions, and other sites both real and surreal. Three Futures
may be whispered and tense, but it is not a quiet album in the normal keyboard-dominated sense, as guitars come crashing in for emphasis and sounds are layered for deliberate emotional effect. Torres is proving herself to be a master composer who’s steadily perfecting her art.