Coming out of Canada and signed to the delicious Arts & Crafts label is Taylor Kirk, the core member of Timber Timbre. Under the guise of folk rock, the album is an acoustic blues album with a spooky malevolent streak running through it. Initially the echoed vocal sound and sparse acoustic instruments reminds you of Richard Hawley to some extent – and that’s a real good thing. The feeling that this was recorded in a wooden, velvet-draped taxidermists shed just won’t leave for some reason, but if there was ever music to be recorded in a wooden, velvet-draped taxidermists shed, this would be it: the darkness comes in part from a place that Nick Cave would know but one in which the hero/villain in the songs carries a Swiss Army knife instead of a flicknife.
Darkness is a constant here, but it’s not a downer. Some songs read as ghost stories, others have a carnival-after-dark shadowy presence ushered in with lines like ‘I ain’t a doctor babe, I ain’t no doctor’s son, but I’ll cool your fever until the doctor comes’. You might smirk at his tales, but you never feel at ease. And don’t be looking for any love stories here – at least the ones that end in sunsets. This is an album based solely around dusk.
On their own, the songs are neat little packages, full of atmosphere and nuances but over the course of the album become very samey and even though the length is a thrifty 35 minutes, the second half blurs into itself with very little change of pace at all. Only when the songs step out of that shed a little with guest vocals and violin (-We’ll Find Out’) you get a nice glimpse of the larger possibilities Taylor Kirk has available to him.
Dark and musty, it’s an atmospheric album but it stays a little tight within the simple parameters Kirk has set himself and this makes it a bit claustrophobic. Still, Kirk is tapping into some interesting dark feelings here and if you’ve got the winter blues, well it’s probably nice to know someone else does too.