Full Length, Arts & Crafts Productions
April 5th, 2011
Genre: Folk/Alt-Country/Gothic Americana
A huge thanks to JGD, or I guess his girl, over at The Living Doorway for both staying on top of death metal for me (along with Haxan at Forever Cursed, since Equivoke is sorely lacking growls and brutalness), and for bringing this odd ball album to my attention. These guys apparently evaded my radar last year and I find myself once again disappointed that I wasn't aware of such an interesting band, especially considering they're Canadian.
Unlike JGD who's honest with himself and his readers, I'm going to pretend I know what I'm talking about when reviewing this quirky amalgamation of genres and sounds like I'm a seasoned folk enthusiast, even though it's something I'm not familiar with — and this is a record far from the norm in general.
This is Timber Timbre's third full album. I have not heard the self-titled or Medicinals yet so I cannot compare it to those in terms of growth in sound and whatnot, but boy is Creep On Creepin' On a strange animal. Challenging and dark is also how it could be described. It is largely calm bluesy folk but very very warped. There's a lot of instruments involved in the 10 compositions on display here: piano, harpsichord, violin, organ, various saxophones, clarinet, accordian, lap steel, several different guitars, and various percussive instruments. You'd think this would turn into a clusterfuck or become pretentious and tiring but it all comes together very organically. Every instrument playing an integral part in the different sounds and the general atmosphere each song brings forward; often used subtly.
Outside of the clinking piano keys and deep bass plucks it's the vocals by Taylor Kirk that are an immediate focal point — once again warped, very slightly distorted, and laced in echos with an old-timey glaze smothered over them. Almost like they're just slightly underwater. They are impossible to ignore and may be the tipping point when deciding whether or not one likes this record for many as they waver and croon over the slow, drowsy sounds beneath them. Certainly not accessible but I find them to pretty damn hypnotic. The lyrics that are attached to his singing (as well as Mika's) are subtly macabre and obsessive, gloomy.
With many of the tracks such as "Lonesome Hunter", 'Creep On Creepin' On", 'Woman", "Black Water", and "Bad Ritual" I feel like I'm listening to something one might hear at a depressing and creepy 1950's or '60's prom or wedding waltz, or something coming from the radio of a run-down and haunted 1956 Chevy Bel Air. That's actually a pretty accurate description of the general atmosphere of this record. "Black Water" and "Lonesome Hunter" are my favorites for sure. They're so spellbinding, depressive, dark and dreary.
Others such as "Too Old To Die Young" and "Do I Have Power" are a little more upbeat (for the most part), bouncy in their tone and pacing. The instrumentals "Obelisk", "Swamp Magic "and "Souvenir"s vary in their style while still being gloomy: "Obelisk" with its jarring violins and abruptness reminds me of Tim Burton's Beetlejuice, while "Swamp Magic" has a southern edge to it, a little more ambient and creepy, and "Souvenirs" closes the album with more of a droning violin/horn quality.
I would definitely recommend this one for the adventurous. I'm slowly falling in love with it. It's a very unique and strange journey no question. Grab this odd piece of brilliance from their label's store (available in various formats) or check out your local record shop, since that's where I found my copy.