Friday, March 28, 2014

Album Review: Timber Timbre - Hot Dreams

Album Rating: B
Visuality is strikingly important in music; it seems as if the ability to implant an idea or a feeling through sound alone is greatly under-appreciated. Not only is it a testament to the expansive intricacies of the human brain but also a factor that distinguishes the most creative and proficiently arranged music from the lifeless and yawn inspiring. On their fifth release, Canadian dream-weavers and experimental folk duo of Taylor Kirk and Simon Trottier traverse environments and atmospheres unexplored before, painting situations both menacing and sincere using all the colours in the cerebral palette.

I find it astounding how the mind associates certain noises and rhythms with detailed scenarios and settings. Music orchestrated for the purpose of film is specially designed to stimulate an emotion while complementing the visual, however, Hot Dreams succeeds in both fields generating an incredibly cinematic tone. Having outgrown the shell of the oaky and bucolic serenades Timbre Timber were producing off the back of their inception, they’ve honed the chops and imagination to be able to channel some greatly diverse atmospheres of dusty westerns, murky woodlands and even dilapidated inner city apartments.

Take opening track ‘Beat the Drum’, the vacuous echo of solitary wood blocks colliding and solemn guitar strums portray a scene of weary-spirited soldiers polishing their rifles in silent refrain the night before a climactic skirmish. Whereas title track ‘Hot Dreams’ sees Kirk ooze satin-smooth longing and sensual guitar strums on top of some of the most rudimentary lyrics he’s produced on a Timber Timbre record, but the eyes-closed, heart-open delivery encases their hypnotically engrossing nature.

‘Curtains’ demonstrates Kirk’s vocals at the most refined and sultry they’ve ever been, somewhere between Brothers-era Dan Auerbach and French director/songwriter extraordinaire Woodkid. Though harnessing the vocal ability to lure out and draw upon a spectrum of emotion and memory, I grew weary of the undertow of self-deprecating and jaded trepidations Kirk’s been nurturing this whole time. I often found the subtle intonations within the instrumentals more captivating than the intimate blues Kirk tries so hard to make resonate with the listener.

The palpitating percussion on ‘Grand Canyon’ is an example of what makes Hot Dreams such a quintessentially evocative record. It induces a feeling of weightlessness as we soar over the diverse landscapes spanning from Salt Lake City, to Hollywood and finally the naturally astounding Grand Canyon. Though peppered with uplifting moments like the angelic harmonies on ‘Run From Me’ or spiralling piano stabs of ‘Resurrection Drive Part II’, Hot Dreams is primarily a conduit for the gloomy and unsettling. Closing track ‘The Three Sisters’ depicts a villainous castle as gripping harpsichords pluck, bass keys thud and scuttling percussion lurks in the shadows.

Despite some exhausted themes, Timber Timbre have once again got a bewitching grip upon me. Harnessing the light to accentuate the darkness, Hot Dreams is a curdling and sinister experience only comparable to looking at yourself in the mirror and seeing your reflection blink.


Track list:
1) Beat The Drum Slowly
2) Hot Dreams
3) Curtains!?
4) Bring Me Simple Men
5) Resurrection Drive Part II
6) Grand Canyon
7) Low Commotion
8) The New Tomorrow
9) Run From Me
10) The Three Sisters

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