Thursday, 30 September 2010

Album Review - Timber Timbre, Timber Timbre

Written for and published by the ever so amazing music site The 405.

Album opener ‘Demon Host’ had already been around a good while before the recent release of Timber Timbre's debut album and had earned the band a number of fans among those who like all things American and blusey.

And 'Demon Host' did appear to be about as American as it could get. In fact the official music video (above) showed the man behind Timber Timbre, Taylor Kirk, sitting in a large countrified barn, picking his guitar, singing about God and repentance, and all in his finest Southern drawl.

So convincing is this stateside charade that it might be a surprise to find that Kirk is actually Canadian. Nevertheless Timber Timbre’s self-titled UK debut (Kirk has released two albums previously in the States) provides a journey through some of the best musical influences that America has offer. From the hillbilly ode of ‘Demon Host’ to gospel number ‘Trouble Comes Knocking’, where you don’t have to make a huge mental leap and you could be listening to the American-influenced rhythm and blues bands of the 1960s - we’re talking The Animals’ ‘House Of The Rising Sun’ in particular.

‘We’ll Find Out’ continues the decidedly gospel vibe, this time with Kirk’s deep and rich voice barely singing but instead talking, preaching even, “Do your actions mention your heart’s intentions? We’ll find out. Is your mind mistaken? Is your conscience not at ease? We’ll find out.” Indeed, although the musical styles vary from one track to the next, the common thread throughout are the dark and mysterious lyrics. There’s always an underlying threat of some sort, like in ‘Lay Down In The Tall Grass’, “In a late basement séance that brought us to tears, dreaming every night of you, I’ll be shaking at the sight,” there’s something very film noir about the overall feel of the album.

Other parts of the album, such as ‘I Get Low’ and ‘Lay Down’ sees the addition of some seriously gothic sounding organ chords that work well with the generally macabre tone. The pairing of this TV horror organ with twinkly piano notes and strings also immediately bring to mind the soul standards of legendary crooners such as Al Green.

‘Magic Arrow’ brings us up to date with an ‘almost pop’ feel – if you squint your ears you can imagine the likes of Brandon Flowers having a hit with this song. But with Kirk at the helm we have dirty bass riffs punctuating this track making it, well, pretty epic really. As in the rest of the album it is coloured with a feeling of menace - there is too much darkness for it to be a radio hit but it’s all the more interesting for it.

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