It seems appropriate that the album cover for Ralph Torrefranca’s new EP, Spare Room Sessions, depicts a man in suit and tie sitting next to an antique radio and black-and-white family photograph, his face obstructed by the image of an antique car and his body partially surrounded by a picture frame. Torrefranca’s lyrics and melodies are notably sincere, yet also convey an age beyond their singer’s 22 years. The effect of basic drums or tambourine outlining the beat and acoustic guitar strumming out the chords is a simple hand-clapping, folksy campfire feel.
But sincerity doesn’t necessarily imply innocence; the music video to “The Devil’s Handshake” features a strawberry-haired suburban girl clad in a pink dress, who moves from girl-next-door to bloodthirsty as she searches for the fleeing Torrefranca with a hammer in hand. He speaks of tricky heartbreak and downward decent, while the guitar lingers between resolution and chaos, creating both a disquieting and foot-tapping ambiance. “5th and Grand” begins with a lazy steel guitar and soft voice conjuring reflection, but instead he sings, “Stuck my hand in that socket,” calling to mind Conor Oberst’s signature mix of jarring lyrics and tranquil acoustics. This goes to show that Torrefranca isn’t afraid of embracing the darker elements that lie beneath his honest guy lyricism.
To check out Torrefranca’s music, visit ralphtorrefranca.bandcamp.com.