Torelli and the Fuse formed in 2012, and have consistently released some of the most evocative music of this past decade. The Live Sessions, their latest EP release, stays true to form and sees the trio at the top of their game, making it a perfect way to start the new year.
Comprised of lead singer/guitarist Dre Torelli, lead guitarist Zachary Knight, and bassist Jarvis Carpenter, Torelli and the Fuse are a culmination of musicians who excel at their craft. Torelli’s voice is sultry, smooth, and boundary breaking with a very Ne-Yo and Bruno Mars quality to it. Zachary Knight’s guitar work is stellar and creatively combines progressive elements with pop sensibilities, and Carpenter’s bass lines are the solid backbone of the whole thing. Torelli and the Fuse combine a wide variety of different genres in some of the most interesting and appealing ways imaginable, and it’s on full display on The Live Sessions.
What is basically an acoustic record, The Live Sessions is completely stripped down, with just guitars and vocals. It’s a rather laid back, atmospheric EP, and as the name implies, all of these tracks were recorded live, making it doubly impressive. It’s the perfect album to relax and vibe out to, letting the waves of color Torelli and the Fuse meticulously paint their songs with completely wash over you. The brilliance of this record lies within its simplicity. It’s incredibly easy to lose yourself in this music, though the journey will be over before you know it.
The Live Sessions begins with Hey Girl and it’s a perfect introduction to everything Torelli and the Fuse are. The listener immediately gets a sense of the purity and authenticity behind this project – largely thanks to Knight’s guitar playing. There’s a real vulnerability to everything he plays – it’s incredibly refreshing as much as it is surprising to be so drawn to the guitar in what is essentially an R&B song at its core. Torelli meets Knight’s guitar with a subdued bravado that allows the two to play in flawless harmony with one another and create a stellar opening track.
The next track, Runnin’, is as far a departure from the sound of Hey Girl as possible, and that’s part of what makes The Fuse so captivating to listen to. Knight begins the piece with an engaging acoustic line that’s reminiscent of I Will Follow You Into the Dark by Death Cab for Cutie. Torelli enters the track and has this almost effortless ability to transcend genres with his voice. While the music feels alternative, Torelli takes it in a more pop/soul direction and it makes for some incredibly thought provoking music. The moment you think you have an idea of where Runnin’ is headed, the chorus comes in with this sort of pop-reggae feel that’s bouncy and infectious.
She is a Spanish inspired serenade, and has some of the most tender vocals from Torelli on the entire record. This track has such a calming feel to it, and it’s in large part due to the breath of the track. There are spaces in the music that allow the song to ebb and flow in such a natural way, evoking subtle jovial feelings that I haven’t felt from modern pop music in a very long time.
The final, most interesting, and longest track of the EP is Facade. This features the very best guitar work from Knight on the whole record, and it has cemented him as one of my new favorite acoustic guitar players. The best way to describe it is a combination of swamp blues and a bit of old time country music – with some elements of free-form jazz thrown in there to keep the listener on their toes. Add on top some very light rapping from Torelli, and this becomes a track that needs to be in Quentin Tarantino’s next film.
The Live Sessions is a fantastic piece of art that has the ability to appeal to fans of any type of music. It is music for music’s sake, and if mainstream culture has made you forget what that sounds like – Torelli and the Fuse are here to remind you.