The teaser video for Timber Timbre’s much anticipated fifth album, is like being transported into the setting of a David Lynch movie. After being so tantalisingly teased, my very visceral response to hearing the album in its entirety was perhaps, to be expected. Putting my own “Hot Dreams” aside, I’m sure others will be equally as mesmerised by the Canadian trio’s chilling combination of sultry, and a little scary. ‘Hot Dreams’ is undoubtedly a record very befitting for a melancholy midnight.
The last record released by Timber Timbre, the aptly named ‘Creep On Creepin’’ On show cased the band’s darker side, so hearing Taylor Kirk’s croon slink across a slightly more seductive back drop is both familiar and foreign. The sound is their recognisable Badalamenti-esque cinematic score, set to an imagined gothic erotica with a lucid and creamy vocal presence.
It is an interesting time to bring out an album such as this, folk is immeasurably all around us, scattered through the contemporary musical landscape in many guises. However, it would be disingenuous to suggest the record represents a cross section of the contemporary attitudes or sound of the folk genre. It’s more of an attempt to create amalgamation of folk, Deep South blues and psychedelic funk, creating a current sound with a timeless appeal.
This collection of psychedelic folk ballads paints almost grotesque portraits of love set against an ever-evolving sonic palate. A seductive yet sad album, it touches on the themes of the search for inner peace and a longing for love, in all of its hideous glory. The decadence and desire of the record is epitomised in the lyrics “you turned me on, then you turned on me” this certainly plays upon the idea of the sublime and the haunting effects of pleasure and pain on the human condition.
Some of the more overzealous instrumental touches accompanied with these themes could be perceived as a little neurotic, but the understated arrangement balanced out well and melted most of my cynical concerns. Colin Stetson’s saxophone adds depth to the tracks, helping the record to capture the lightheaded and hazy tone, emphasising Kirk’s wanton warbles. A good example of this is the climatic ending of the title track, it is the building of the saxophone’s intensity that embodies the song’s meaning, getting ever more frenzied with desire, and then all of a sudden… the ‘Hot Dream’ fades as quickly as it had appeared.
Words: Natasha Smurthwaite