Photo by Jeff Bierk
Timber Timbre’s Taylor Kirk belongs to that long list of Canadian songwriters who have mastered the sound and feel of Americana despite living north of the border. His group’s fifth album, titled Hot Dreams, does American better than most American contemporaries can.
Timber Timbre’s sound perches at the intersection of folk, blues, and soul, but it’s built up through a dark, almost swampy energy and an added touch of Canadian coldness. The Toronto-based trio favors simple arrangements with minimal instrumentation, giving plenty of room for the songs to breathe and really sink in. Kirk’s lonesome voice is always front-and-center, weaving dark tales about sinners, saints, and everyone in between.
Despite the low-key feel, they’re starting to gain traction, both in their native country and abroad. Timber Timbre’s smoky sound has been taken out of the clubs and put on much larger stages the past few years. They’ve toured with Laura Marling and fellow Canadian Feist, and in 2011, their album Creep On Creepin’ On was shortlisted for Canada’s prestigious Polaris Prize (Arcade Fire’s The Suburbs beat it out). Even with the added attention, Timber Timbre keep doing their thing. Hot Dreams subtly refines their sound, and on standout “Curtains!?”, the group adds a driving beat to go with their spaghetti western spookiness.