taking a listen

by Ryan Snyder

reviews of the moment

T0W3RS — If All We Have Is Time

There’s a duality of implication in the name alone of Carrboro alt-pop group T0W3RS.

On one hand, the ability to create coherency out of the joining of numbers and letters is soundly rooted in cognitive psychological theory. You see the word “towers” regardless of the substitution of numbers for letters. Shapes are what matter most. On the other, a band called “Towers” suggest layers, and within each successive one could be a purpose completely independent of the next; all that matter is the unifying force that runs vertically through them all. This, essentially, describes the debut album If All We Have Is Time by Derek Torres’ band T0W3RS, 30 minutes of richly detailed yet ductile psych-folk that filigrees Penguins-style doo-wop with the heartbeat of Ima Robot. Pop is the main truss that keeps this record standing, but it also affords Torres the freedom to experiment with subtle variations from song to song. The short opener “Swimmin’” bathes in a heavy-hearted soul riff that could have been culled from Otis Redding’s Pain In My Heart, while the elegiac “Over & Ov’r” find roots in Balkan rock. It’s when the songs approach more familiar territory that they sound somewhat stunted, however. “Darla (I Should Just Behave)” can’t decide whether it wants to be a screaming garage rocker or a sympathetic piece of narrative folk, but eventually decides on the latter as it bleeds into the next song, and so forth. It’s a brave sound, and one that provides ample room to build.


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