Photo c/o Bronwyn-West
Timber Timbre are not your normal band. They're not really a band at at all, more so just a collection of music and words born of Taylor Kirk, owner and operator of the dark folk machine that is Timber Timbre. Yet it is exactly this sound and these words that set them apart as a rising independant music act. Through his songs, Taylorr has taken the darkest parts of human nature, a kind of ethereal series of dreams and stories, and shares them with the lowest fi, stripped down production possible; and I have to thank him for it. Their latest, self-titled album takes listeners on a journey that borders between the very edge of imagination and into the darkest parts of the mind, the places we always knew existed, but hoped to never have to face.
Starting off with the track Demon Host, you can immediately get a sense sonically of where this album is going. Though by no means will you know how far down this hole it treads until the very last note, as the territory might not be one you're used to. The song, painted with hushed guitars and quiet, chilling vocals, sounds like an ominous folk tale of a jilted lover at first. This is where the real strength of the track lies, as many of the songs seem to take you down one road, some bright dirt drive on the side of some forgotten village or rustic forest, only to take a left at some point into far more eerie and unsettling territory. With a chorus of haunting "oh, oh, oh"s and ending with the lyrics "...I know there's no such thing as ghosts, but i have seen the demon host", you end up unsure as to where this album is going, only knowing that you have just the light of the moon or maybe a torch to guide the way through some bad lands.
From there, songs like Trouble Comes knocking and Until the Night is Over show how this album has no longer remained the sole identity of Kirk but now a host of guests on the album and a much richer texture than previous efforts. Yet for this extra audio padding, including some excellant banjo and organ work, the main focus of this album is restraint. Every note and lyric seems perfectly and meticulously arranged. In Lay Down in the Tall Grass, an Animals-esque song with lyrics covering late night seances and shallow graves, the spooky organ and sparse rhythm takes a sharp turn at the end as if just on cue, with an equally strong, almost funeral blues guitar solo (and yes, if Timber Timbre had to be categorized, I'm throwing my hat in the arena with "funeral blues" . Catchy, huh?).
Timber Timbre certainly won't be for everyone. The album's almost mystical tales of dread and redemption and it's cathedral-full-of-the-damned production sounds, it'll will certainly not be overheard on coffee jingles or on Guitar Hero 314, but, that's not a bad thing. Some music, like some art, is able to get inside of us, digging it's claws into places we were not prepared to go, but, after being there, don't wan't to leave.
For more info: Check out Timber Timbre's music and videos at www.arts-crafts.ca/timbertimbre/index.php, as well as on that Myspace thing the kids are raving about at www.myspace.com/timbertimbre . If you like the music you hear, you can also see them play live (yours truly will definitely be there) at www.mercuryloungenyc.com/ in New York, NY on Saturday October 10th, 2009.