"It's a bad, bad ritual,
But it calms me down."
That is your introduction to "Creep On Creeping On", the forth album from the Canadian folk collective Timber Timbre. It drones on repeatedly into your head, as depressing as it is oddly romantic, with "ohs" and strings swelling in the background, not the kind of feeling we've come to expect from Folk music, but it is certainly a refreshing one. But it isn't just Folk music that Timber Timbre are limiting themselves to, their album also shyly edges into blues.
Timber Timbre displays a knack for these small, poetic self observations, casually explaining that "All I need is some sunshine" in "Black Water" - lyrics like these are born from isolation and the music is richer for it, creating an atmosphere of damp, dark gloom. This isn't the kind of sadness we're accustomed to hearing via. high-pitched whining, this is the gruff reality of loneliness and hopelessness. And it's fantastic.
The vocals reflect this in their deep, rumbling tones, sometimes lingering on a word a little too long or slurring but it does build the atmosphere, something Timber Timbre have obviously been keen to create. If accounts are to be believed they recorded some of the album in a converted church just for this purpose, as well as this they incorporate a wide variety of ambient effects. The feel of each song ranges from sad and reminiscent to, at times, haunting and a bit creepy; this is best displayed in the excessive use of strings in songs such as "I'm Too Old To Die Young".
Oddly enough, Timber Timbre do not fall into the trap of repeating the same tone and feel until it becomes monotonous. "Creep On Creeping On" ends with "Souvenirs", an instrumental piece just as beautiful as it is captivating. "Do I have Power" also bucks the trend by breaking off into a kind of manic, horn-led waltz half way through.
Sadly, it could be said, the most obvious thing about this album is how much it contrasts with the "Mumford and Sons" view of folk that many of us have been subjected to for the last few years. The "happy-beardy-men dancing round a fire with the fairies" view. "Creep On Creeping On" acts as the fish slapping you in the face, while folk often describes things that are almost surreal, Timber Timbre remain firmly entrenched in reality. Sullen, frank, depressing reality.
No boundaries are pushed in "Creep On Creeping On", so it would be wrong to expect something truly unique and awe-inspiring. As it stands, it's a solid folk/blues album from a songwriter capable of an uncountable amount of intelligent one liners that seems to have been sadly overlooked.