Mackenzie Scott Credit: Shervin Lainez

Brooklyn singer-songwriter Mackenzie Scott, aka Torres, is a master of insular, languid indie pop. But after making it through lockdown and finding inspiration in her partner, visual artist Jenna Gribbon, Scott is in an expansive mood. Her new album, Thirstier (Merge), graced with a glam cock-rock cover painted by Gribbon, features a big, snarling, exuberant arena sound courtesy producer (and Garbage drummer) Butch Vig. Fans may miss the unhurried melancholy elegance of Scott’s powerful 2017 album Three Futures, but there’s no denying the Liz Phair-flavored crunch and cheerful guitar solo of album opener “Are You Sleepwalking?” Even better is “Don’t Go Puttin Wishes in My Head,” whose surging wall of raunch frames its frank, starry-eyed lyrics: “If you don’t want me believing that you’re never gonna leave me, darlin’ / Don’t go putting wishes in my head.” The song’s video features Scott and Gribbon in happy domestic canoodling—cooking root vegetables, boogying while brushing their teeth together, and cuddling in bed. “Hug From a Dinosaur” mixes straightforward love-song lyrics with cosmic goofiness (“Truth is ancient and eternal and surreal as a hug from a dinosaur”), accompanied by psychedelic swirls and a hook you couldn’t get out of your head with a backhoe. COVID-19 and Trump are both still wreaking havoc on our society, and there’s certainly no shortage of reasons to despair. But it’s precisely because misery hovers so close that Thirstier is such a welcome celebration of love, joy, and rawk.  v