Timber Timbre are a Canadian ensemble who, with their new
album 'Creep On Creepin' On', have conjured some unsusual
sounds into being. Mike Posen plays keyboards and violin;
Taylor Kirk sings and plays all manner of instruments;
Simon Trottier plays guitar and a few other bits and bobs.
Their sound is dark but not without humour. Mr Kirk sings in
a faltering baritone which suits the prevailing ambience well.
There are ten compositions in the collection. Some are wistful
and almost pretty ('Black Water'); others work hard to give us
the chills (Mr Posen's violin on the discordant and somewhat
cinematic instrumental 'Obelisk' is especially discombobulating!)
What is striking with all their material is its musical intelligence.
These are songs to think about as well as to listen to.
The plodding piano and drum arrangement of opening track 'Bad Ritual'
is a particularly satisfying invention. Mr Posen pokes about in the
embers of a failed relationship like a man with something awful on
his conscience returning again and again to the scene of the crime!
'Lonesome Hunter' had a stripped-down sixties ambience full of
strange shadows and disturbing sonic intrusions in the wings.
(I suspect David Lynch would love it!)
Final track 'Souvenirs' comes on like an icy wind blowing through
a broken windowpane. The violin's sustained drone brings the album
to a desolate and stark conclusion. An open grave of a composition.
A moodily magnificent album.
on 28 April 2011
As these things go, Creep On Creepin' On is some fairly weak wordplay, albeit suitably dark-hearted in its thrust. Wearing indeed a creepy face of menace - one set all the same with a toothy smile - it's an album concept that affords this Canadian three-piece the space to deviate from their formerly linear blues-folk roots.
It's fair to say that with elements of doo-wop, chamber pop and rockabilly now all adding to the band's more familiar blues, Creep On Creepin' On has something of a cut-and-paste, B-movie-horror-score kind of ambience to it. In this regard, it's often not far from recalling Dirty Beaches recent mash-ups, yet Timber Timbre's tongue feels firmly more in cheek.
Accordingly then, as protesting strings, piano beats and gothic bass argue amongst themselves, frontman Taylor Kirk sashays in with his mildly reverbed tales of the paranormal, such as can be found on the unnerving opener "Bad Ritual".
From here things get bleaker. The interlude-like instrumental "Obelisk" (one of a series of such interjections) is full of string-induced suspense and percussive heartbeats. And things get groovier too. The minimal, relaxed and smoky plod of "Black Water" is an ocean from the band's previous incarnation, whose folky existence is only hinted at by such concessions as the drifting fiddle that latterly appears on "Too Old To Die Young".
All in all, it's hard to know if Creep On Creepin' On is serious or not. The pastiche saxophone that, amongst other places, closes the title track certainly doesn't seem to think so, nor quite does Kirk's smug croon. And it's difficult to know what to make of the quivering, UFO-like miasma that hangs over "Woman" and "Do I Have Power?".
Despite this ill-at-ease balance, Creep On Creepin' On is an album that nevertheless maintains the interest thanks to its guilty-pleasure schlock tactics. Mark it down as a true curio, one for which the most stylised of question marks seems tailor made.
Advised downloads: "Bad Ritual" and "Creep On Creepin' On".
on 13 May 2011
Whereas the earlier albums Cedar Shakes and Medicinals, even the Timber Timbre 2 disc have a raw outdoors creep over all they present, this cd does sound more orchestrated, more thematic. Does the potent reverb with his voice suggest engineering is over-modernizing the 'old' sounds of previous smokey output?..slightly, you could easily just say its polishing.
There is again, a feeling i could drop some similar deceased and not so deceased talent names. But now they seem to be not so much channeling earthy, long dead artistes, but are expanding their sounds further. Raw roots have now been suffused with some form of miracle-grow. When they were brackish water, or slightly menacing with directness in early work, they now give way to juxtaposing instrumental eerie tracks with more even tempo numbers. The sum of parts is still, very much a dark wooded area even the bears are steering clear of...but probably because some old timer has set up a juke-box in a forlorn copse, off the beaten track, just a little down the ways...
on 19 May 2011
taylor kirk is a very promising talent. especially live it's simply amazing how he manages to pull out the max of his songs with little means.
"medicinals" was harsh but strong, "timber timbre" simply strong. very strong. songwriting, sound, arrangements - everything was perfectly balanced.
on "creep on creepin' on", the new record, he's mixing songs and interludes. the songs are not as haunting as in the precursing album, but still haunting enough. the interludes are more experimental. because of that the songs themselves may appear more conventional as they actually are. on the other hand: there are no senseless cuts, every bit flows into another.
that's why i found myself playing the record over and over again. a grower!