If Lucifer were to put on a music festival in celebration of his bad-assed self, who do you think would headline? Doubtless a certain Mr Osbourne - Ozzy not George - would put in an appearance to mark a lifetime spent dedicated to this world’s forbidden pleasures. I’d also like to think the Lord of the Underworld would honour one of his chief arbiters of the cultural apocalypse by putting on a stage solely dedicated to the Syco Music roster.
Doubtlessly though, in the most dank, decrepit and outright harrowing tent to grace an event to tribute Satan, Timber Timbre will be performing the remorselessly bleak Creep On Creepin’ On in full.
For this fourth album from singer-songwriter Taylor Kirk, and his two supporting Canadian’s Mika Posen and Simon Trottier, positively revels in its dearth of light and tumultuous doses of shade. “It’s a bad, bad ritual but it calms me down,” croons Kirk, confessionally, on opener ‘Bad Ritual’. Yet regardless of the soothing qualities of a turn to morbidity, it’s a marked improvement on 2009’s self-titled LP.
Though similarly sinister in its slow-tempoed strut, Creep On Creepin’ On is a far more fully realised number (of the beast). Founded on the upper registers of a softly stroked piano and elaborated with wailing punctuations of guitar, brass and organ, it’s a desolate combination but one which forms a palpable shift away from the acoustic guitar centric Timber Timbre.
An inordinate amount of care and attention has been invested into this record’s atmosphere, with three out of its ten tracks restrained to solely instrumental affairs. The cacophonic ‘Obelisk’, eerie violin lead ‘Swamp Magic’ and even more sombre ‘Souvenirs’ act as more than black padding to the funeral party, expanding on the all-enveloping air of dread that permeates this entire album.
Where Creep On Creepin’ On falls down, however, is in its tendency to immerse itself within the task of creating a doom-laden environment while leaving little time to capitalise on it. ‘Black Water’ is the closest the LP treads towards an outright tune, with its withered “all I need is some sunshine” refrain.
Elsewhere, the intro to ‘Woman’ thrashes wildly to a brass tubular stomp but recoils from the threat of impulsive chaos to a more controlled trudge. This reluctance to break a menacing form by means of tone or pacing is replicated in the overly relaxed ‘Do I Have Power’ which flounders in the familiar surroundings of thudding bass and lurching horns.
As such, Creep On Creepin’ On makes for a captivating record albeit one without many songs that rest easily in the memory. Despite a magnetically bitter prescription, this album’s strong dosage of darkness is tough to swallow in one sitting and even more difficult to actively enjoy.
It’s said the greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn't exist. Next time, Timber Timbre would be well advised to take Beelzebub’s lead and etch a little hope amidst the fear and depravity they accomplish so well.
6Robert Leedham's Score