During Torres’s set at Brooklyn Steel in May, Mackenzie Scott seemed possessed. At the top of every crescendo, her voice spiralled out into a wild grunt or wail; she attacked her guitar like it was an industrial tool. She closed her set that night with “Strange Hellos,” a vengeful song of ominous non-apologies, a one-sided argument backed by clattering grunge guitars. She towered over the microphone, curling her lip, barely blinking except to wink at someone in the front row during the guitar solo. She twisted the song into knots, replacing the word “hate” with “love” in the introduction, but growling “fuck you” when the solo gave way. When the song fell into chaos and feedback at the end, Scott threw herself to her knees, cracked her guitar onto the floor on the way down, and crawled across the stage on all fours through the noise. Her knees and palms smacked the ground at uncomfortable rhythms, eyes wide while white-blonde hair snapped across her face.
This is the next step in the evolution of Torres. In the four years since she released her debut LP and moved to Brooklyn, Mackenzie Scott has turned from a raw singer-songwriter into a confounding art rock force, embracing a God-tinged mysticism. Three Futures, her third LP—out September 29 on 4AD—sets out a new worldview. It’s the sound of Scott moving further away from the strictures of the Baptist Church in which she was raised and with which she grappled on her her first two albums, Torres and Sprinter. Through a combination of industrial clatter and warm tones, Three Futures lays out a new spirituality, with the body as a conduit for the soul.
When we meet on the back patio of a Brooklyn coffee shop in the middle of June, the 26-year-old Scott is disarmingly placid, her ice-blue eyes beneath a black Planet Hollywood dad hat. She’s explaining her new philosophy by way of the title track of her new album, where she sings to a lover, “You didn’t know I saw three futures: One alone, and one with you / And one with the love I knew I’d choose.”
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