Torres Credit: Ashley Connor

Mackenzie Scott is the kind of artist who can turn a song about peach cobbler into a sweeping tale of thwarted lust and bitter memory. The lyric “I know you never dreamed I’d become a damn Yankee / I need you to believe that I’m still your same baby,” from “Tongue Slap Your Brains Out,” the opening track of her latest album, Three Futures (4AD), may be the most over-the-top lament of the personal costs of northward migration since Bobby Bare’s “Streets of Baltimore.” Raised in Georgia and currently based in Brooklyn, Scott, who goes by Torres, has always embraced big romantic gestures, but never so well as on Three Futures. On “Skim” the addition of 80s keyboards and drum machines to her 90s singer-songwriter approach creates a soundscape of clunky, robotic nostalgia.”I’m only the skim of what’s already been,” she moans in her low, husky voice, as she watches her relationship disintegrate in infidelity and confused, jealous desire. On the album’s even more compelling title track, a slow dirge with keyboards sawing like distorted violins, Scott looks back on herself choosing a path of romantic betrayal, singing, “You didn’t know I saw three futures / one alone and one with you / and one with the love I knew I’d choose.” The track’s remarkable, just-this-side-of-X-rated music video, in which Scott plays both halves of a butch-femme couple as well as herself observing them, guitar in hand, is a dreamy, insular masterpiece—an image of love as languid solitary confinement, as Torres loves Torres and is stuck in her head as the object of her own affection. Sustaining that level of intensity for a live show will be a feat, but if she even comes close it’ll be worth seeing.   v