If the netherworld has bars, Timber Timbre is the headlining act. Their self titled album in 2009, which made the Canadian Polaris Prize’s short list, is quite a diversion from their current effort Creep On Creepin’ On. While the minimalist musical arrangements still exist, on the latest reincarnation, the songs are dressed with interludes of moody ambient wanderings ramped up on reverb and sounding like a soundtrack to an old Dr. Who episode.
If the title hasn’t warned you, Creep On Creepin’ On is less of a dark folk-blues album, typical of the band, and more of a leisurely stroll with the dead. Often there is a fuzz of strings and electronic insects that sound reminiscent of Tindersticks in their early years. Taylor Kirk’s vocals have deepened slightly and are fed through a 50s type reverb machine resulting in a spooky echo. The pulse of most of the songs is provided by the constant march of a pair of lonely piano keys struck in tandem. A poltergeist bass line interplays with the piano leaving the hair raising elements to the violins and guitars.
No, this is not a joyous record. Kirk’s gloomy vocals and the overall slow methodical pace to the album offers no room for uplift despite Timber Timbre’s pleas for sunshine in their first single ‘Black Water’. Given this dark descent, Creep On Creepin’ On literally creeps up on you. Right from the opening seconds, the listening experience is intense seemingly guiding the subconscious through a labyrinth of dark narrow passages that echo with the sounds of trapped souls milling about. The chorus of ghostly voices send tingles and chills throughout the body’s sensory receptors. Enough to darken the brightest of suns, there is sense that the momentum cannot be stopped; it is useless to resist.
Timber Timbre’s Creep On Creepin’ On might have earned the title of the year thus far; they should also be in line for album of the year as well.
-Slavko Bucifal, thelineofbestfit.com
Museum of Canadian Music Musée de la Musique Canadienne Calgary Vinyl Music Museum Canada Museum of Recorded Sound Canada Music Museum Calgary Music Museum