Review by Emily Smith
New artist Kelly Torres recently released a creatively touching new EP, “How We Really Feel.” The latest project is both authentic and genuine with every sound created strictly by instruments throughout the entire EP showcasing her virtuosity.
The instrumentals on this EP alone is something to note. Torres’ weapon of choice is the piano, leading many of the singles on this EP and providing a structure for an array of wonderful instrumental embellishments that build up the tracks and keeps things interesting. Good examples of this include the faint electric guitar and keyboard that hang over the song “Blood in the Water” and the accordion and guitar in the song “Unopened Letters.” Towards the end of “Blood in the Water,” the instrumentals cascade over the track while Torres’ vocals cut through the flood of piano, guitar, and backing vocals. At this point, the instrumentation reaches a new level of intensity, where the piano is more prominent and the embellishments of guitar and backing vocals turn into driving elements of the track.
Torres adds a great amount of vulnerability into her songs. Tracks like “Misguided Heart” and “Strike the Match” provide a mix of delicate vocals that really bring this vulnerability to the surface and grab the listeners by their heartstrings. In fact, many of these tracks are softer ballads led which is a perfect fit for Torre’s emotional vocals, giving this EP a very poignant tone.
These ballads allow for Torres to draw attention to her powerful, smart lyrics. The lyrics are mainly about all the heartache and hurt that comes from a relationship. For instance, “Blood in the Water,” provides some captivating lyrics such as “I’m finally good and clean/ Then I hear it calling me/ Charming temptation/ reaching for my hand/ Twinkle in his eye/ he asks me for a dance.” This song is about resisting the temptation to fall back in love with someone and repeating the past. Torres sings “If I run from the blood in the water/ Oh trouble’s gonna track me down,” as if she knows what the wrong decision will lead to.
Aside from the softer ballads, there’s also more intensified moments within the EP. “Buried,” for instance, provides some of the most electrifying moments on the entire project. It is an especially fun song, with jazzy components and an abundance of horns that adds a layer of intoxicating catchiness. It has a foot-tapping rhythm and a combination of instruments that are married so well together. This is one of the fuller sounding tracks on the EP, unlike many of the ballads that are more stripped back.
A track that features some of the most interesting lyrics and narratives is “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” We often hear stories of the “crazy” ex, normally told from the perspective of the man in the relationship, placing blame on the girl for a messy breakup and making it seem like she’s acting out for no reason. In this song, Torres sings in defense of the “crazy” ex, telling a story of how an unfulfilling relationship filled with hurt is what takes “18 years to make a crazy ex-girlfriend.” What the girl has dealt with is shown in lyrics like “Scream ‘til the tears fill her eyes/ then tell her she’s ugly when she cries.” Torres asks the listener to look at the girl’s perspective instead, and consider what exactly made her “crazy.”
An especially moving track is the last one in this EP, “In This House.” After several tracks about relationships and heartbreak, this track serves as an excellent closer and touches on how a house is a safe haven from the hurt and confusion in the world. It provides a nurturing tone with lyrics like “Love of mine/ dry your eyes/ Any time you feel all alone/ come on home.” The chorus also gives the sense that this house is somewhere someone can rest their head: “In this house/ Lullabies/ There’s sunny days/ and peaceful minds/ Forever dear your heart is safe and sound/ in this house.” The strings and the piano near the end of the song dance with each other in a lovely instrumental break that adds to the sweet nature of this song. This, combined with the lyrics, offers a sense of hope after the emotional turmoil throughout the rest of the EP.
This EP is an overall excellent effort from Kelly Torres. The genuine, authentic sound she creates adds to the emotion and themes she conveys in her lyrics and should not be overlooked.
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