Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Timber Timbre: "Hot Dreams" (album review)

I've said this countless times before, but folk music is boring.  It's a scientific fact.  Anyone who argues against that rule is trying fool either you or themselves.

Of course, like any good blanket statement made with little supporting evidence, there is an exception to that rule.  In this instance, the exception comes in the form of Toronto's own Timber Timbre.

The ghost-folk outfit release their new album, Hot Dreams, on April 1st.  While their music is far more textured and dynamic than the genre as a whole, their meticulous approach still make them a band not for the impatient among us.

The slow-burning (which is a term that can describe the album as a whole) opener whooshes above a clopping Civil War drummer percussion base.

The group's flair for the dramatic is on full display on "Curtains?!".  The track is stylishly cinematic, in that '60s British spy-thriller way.  The instrumental "Resurrection Drive Part II" draws more from television, sounding like Sonic Youth and Nick Cave teaming up for a cover of The Twilight Zone theme song.

There's a recurring Western vibe to many Timber Timbre songs.  That re-emerges on the drone-twang "Bring Me Simple Men" and "Grand Canyon", which has a ghoulish "Little Drummer Boy" sense to it.

Lead vocalist Taylor Kirk goes lounge crooner on us during the title track.  When the horns kick in it transforms into a soft rock hit that Venus Flytrap would've spun on air.

Despite an extremely clever title, "This Low Commotion" fails to excite.  The same affliction brings the record home in weak fashion with "The Three Sisters".

While Hot Dreams is not the strongest album in the Timber Timbre catalogue, it is still far more engaging and interesting than most of the things that fall within the broader 'folk' category.

Timber Timbre play Massey Hall in Toronto on May 23rd.

Best tracks: "Resurrection Drive Part II", "Curtains?!"

Track listing for Hot Dreams:
  • Beat the Drum Slowly
  • Hot Dreams
  • Curtains?!
  • Bring Me Simple Men
  • Resurrection Drive Part II
  • Grand Canyon
  • This Low Commotion
  • The New Tomorrow
  • Run From Me
  • The Three Sisters

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