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Elsten Torres | Waiting For Clouds

album review by John Powell

Elsten Torres | Waiting For Clouds

Elsten Torres’ Waiting For Clouds starts off mellow. The feel is drenched in sunshine, humidity, low and slow. His voice has Elvis integrity: charm and soul without being forceful. It’s pretty music, and sensitive. “I will wait for you,” he sings on the opener; “I’ll make for you/ a perfect world/ I’ll start you over again.” Washy guitar and brushes on snares treat this song, making it like a 1950s hit single, never breaking beyond the cliché formula, complete with a talking interlude.

Still, it’s not corny and it’s not over the top, so the album goes throughout. The songs tend to alternate between slow tempo ballad type songs and upbeat rockers- by which I mean faster and with a bit more oomph. For instance, the album’s best song, “Bleeding Heart’s Club”, a swinging croon with banjo. It nears indie cred but is too old school to be weird. “I’m the king of the broken hearts,” Elsten sings, adding, “The president/ the CEO." Elsten’s got some humor, which makes these often cliché songs come off fun and not hackneyed.

If anything, he’s pulled from the mire of yesteryear the song quality that persisted at the beginning of rock n’ roll. “Sitting on Your Throne” has vibraphone that steals the melody from Peggy March’s “I Will Follow Him”, for instance, and he treads melodies from that era too.

The album leans towards love songs, but as formulaic as he’ll get, Elsten is never trite. Also, he never breaks the mold, never pushes the boundaries, whether lyrically or melodically.

For instance, “Through Her Window” could end a rom com. Roll credits, please. Or better yet, come on as the boy realizes his mistake and runs slow motion down a foggy street to the girl’s place. Some listeners may not like how this comes off, but somebody’s got to be writing these songs, and Elsten has it down. “In a world that was perfectly made/ well, now she’s a casualty of war,” Elsten begs as piano dances and layered acoustic and electric guitar build.

If there’s one misstep it’s the title track, the end track, which takes a long time to come around. It’s a super slow song where Elsten yearns, “I’m bleeding inside/ the tears that you shed/ break through my skin.” Blurg, Elsten. You had our attention up until now, but ten tracks in he leaves us with his least inspired song.

Leaving that where it is, the rest of the album is pleasant, not overdone. Mixed well, you can learn the words and pick out the guitar part. You can sing along to the catchy choruses and hum along to the instrumental bridges. Waiting For Clouds could be your soundtrack.

Bottom line: Sounding like the roots of rock n’ roll, the lightly powdered album has good vocals and instrumentation, simultaneously familiar and enjoyably persistent.


 

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