Torche might be the happiest band in the hard-rock game. On stage, frontman Steve Brooks hams it up, smiling from ear to ear and sticking his tongue out when it’s time to jam. Harmonicraft, the Atlanta/Miami band’s third full-length, sports a ridiculously psychedelic album cover that can best be described as a visual approximation of the sensation of elation. The art is an understandable kind of ridiculous, an ideal complement to the smile-inducing rock ‘n’ roll contained on the record. Stand down, The Hold Steady — this is the band that truly knows how to stay positive.
Musically, Harmonicraft doesn’t stray far from the band’s oft-concise, power-rock past; it’s all crunchy guitars and king-kong melodies. “Walk It Off” walks off after less than a minute and a half, “Kicking” is a pick-scratching, big-beat jam, and “Sky Trials” noodles straight into the hemisphere. Here and there, the band slows things down just a hair, like on aptly named track, “Roaming,” or the plodding, slow-and-steady tortoise rock of “Reverse Inverted.” But as a unit, Harmonicraft is more of Torche doing what Torche does best. Much like a grinning youngin’ throwing up the sign of the beast, its charms are irresistible.