Looking back over their decade-plus tenure, the sound of Timber Timbre has been an evolving work-in-progress. Those efforts reached a plateau in 2014, when the Toronto quartet ably spun an engaging noir soundtrack in Hot Dreams that blended the influences of Ennio Morricone and David Lynch. Following up a breakthrough can be a daunting task for any band and that effort can only be made more difficult by one with restless tendencies. On their sixth album Sincerely, Future Pollution, they reach into neighboring genres for a vintage resonance that crackles off of their sonic bedrock of moody landscapes.
The solemn hum on opener “Velvet Gloves & Spit” embarks from where Timber Timbre left off, steeped with the rich vocals of Taylor Kirk to set the sultry mood and narrative. “I recall/ Velvet gloves & spit in your embrace/ And I wanted nothing else” deals in an open-ended imagery where the listener can wantonly impress their own lurid thoughts. Things get sweaty on “Sewer Blues” under the weight of gunslinger guitar and an ominous beat. Kirk’s baritone simmers in the heated climate of the track, mining the dirty details of coitus with titillating juxtaposition. You can picture the details of the moment, cheap motel room, rain-streaked windows, cigarette smoke, the scent of sex. Visual lyrics like “Stretch your skin in front of me/ Undo every other year” are Timber Timbre’s anything-but-secret weapon, but still manage to surprise and satisfy.
When trying out some musical explorations on Sincerely, Future Pollution, Timber Timbre still demonstrate a meticulous, yet classic quality. The keyboard work on “Grifting” is a shadowy shapeshifter, slinking around the verse with Bernie Worrell-channeling funk only to switch into a atmospheric bedding during the chorus. “Moment” starts off as a bracing lament replete with synthesized vocals, then swerves off course into a prog-infused meltdown. Shaking up an established formula for a band works in measured doses, but delivering on set expectations is a categorical imperative in response. “Western Questions” is Timber Timbre fully immersed in their element, parsing hard truths to the listener in a homespun whisper. Kirk’s yarn on present-day dystopia has the gravitas of all of his best moments from Hot Dreams, conveyed with the full realization of his cachet. “I’m the hero of the human highway/ I’m the savior of the atmosphere” is a statement without the need for a following question. This is a band who is fully aware of their strengths and utilizes them with precision and confidence.
Sincerely, Future Pollution is available now.