The Avant-Garde Aesthetic of Timber Timbre
    • MONDAY, MAY 05, 2014

    • Posted by: Stephanie Orentas

    It seems that people missed the punchline when Timber Timbre's Creep On Creepin' On was released back in 2011. The album was a wink or a slight nudge to those who tirelessly described Timber Timbre as a spooky band with endless musical shivers. What is truly scary about Timber Timbre is the amount of talent the band possesses and its array of influences ranging from Lee Hazelwood to every day dissonance. Timber Timbre is the definition of avant-garde; they easily transcend the musical barriers of noise and music. During a conversation before Timber Timbre's sold out show at Music Hall of Williamsburg on April 25th, singer and songwriter Taylor Kirk revealed he's grown tired of the band's creepy associations. With tracks like "Beat The Drum Slowly" and "Resurrection Drive Part II" from the latest album Hot Dreams, it's hard to to stay content with the unavoidable and almost compulsory classification of their music. In the music video for the former, Chad VanGaalen captures the silly side of it all. Kirk confessed he gave all artistic direction to VanGaleen, trusting his own aesthetic would manifest successfully through VanGaalen's vision, and truly, it did:

    It's true that Hot Dreams conjures up dark imagery, but it isn't necessarily scary. On the contrary, the record emphasizes sexuality, sadness and the banality of evil which is exemplified on the title track's music video. Timber Timbre's music pairs easily with a visual component, and it's no surprise that Kirk initially intended to dedicate his time to music in film. "Resurrection Drive Part II" is a reworked version of what was to be part of the score for The Last Exorcism Part II before the plans fell through due to change in musical theme and producers.

    Truthfully, the sensual nature of "Hot Dreams" is not due to the strip club imagery, instead it's Kirk's unmistakable voice. At the show, people shouted and whistled at the sound of it. Kirk takes sadness and evil and makes it romantic, creating something powerful enough to create a grim sing-a-along: "After Salt Lake City, I have time to close my eyes / Before the Grand Canyon swallows us as we move south / I pray the Grand Canyon take our plane inside its mouth." This track, "Grand Canyon", was the opener for the night at Music Hall of Williamsburg, followed by a setlist loaded with selections from their latest album, which left songs from the past feeling like weird, lingering memories. Hot Dreams was a product of 2013 while Kirk wrote and recorded in Los Angeles, surrounded by celebrity and disillusion, it's safe to say that the cynicism of the album stemmed from geography.

    The performance transcended the recording and the low light ambiance set the mood as a bright neon sign flashing "HOT DREAMS" hung above the band. Once Kirk and company slowed down, couples embraced and embodied the cynical romance that is ever-present in the record through tracks like "This Low Commotion", where you're drawn in by dissonance and strung along by the harmony. Timber Timbre's ability to capture the spectrum of genre in an album is mind-boggling; Hot Dreams gives you blues, experimental, and the list goes on. Sure, an acoustic guitar is as easy set-up for a folk song, but Kirk explains he feels more attuned to the spirit of folk, not the music. On Friday night, the audience was in synch with each other through one communal sway as Timber Timbre played, cheering at the sound of their favorite song, which for me, might be each and every one from that night.

    Timber Timbre's Hot Dreams is out now on Arts & Crafts. Get your copy here.

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