This is one of those albums I had a sort of sinking resignation I would find kind of dull, just because I loved its predecessor so much and there wasn’t much obvious sign of change in the officially sanctioned promotional material. I sometimes think PR people and/or labels make mistakes with that kind of thing: releasing stuff designed to appeal to people who loved the last album. I know engaging with the existing audience for a band is crucial, but the last album isn’t the point, and picking songs that sound too much like it can be kind of misleading and confuse your audience.
With this album the progression from previous work is pretty subtle though, so it doesn’t really matter so much. That slim change generally sends me running to the hills but in this case, after a few listens, no such thing happened. This is another beautiful record by Timber Timbre.
It’s richer and a bit more adventurous than their previous album. The sax, of all things, features quite prominently, and the orchestration is generally fuller and more involved, although the use of unusual noises and found sounds (or at least imitations thereof) is lovely. Songs like Swamp Magic are a gorgeous interplay between the two. This is one of a couple of instrumental tracks which work brilliantly in the context of the album. In this particular case, the rattling voodoo of Swamp Magic brilliantly sets up the phenomenal Woman and it’s at this point, about halfway through, where it’s obvious how the game has been raised from one album to the next.
Where their last album was wonderfully creepy this one, despite what the title may suggest, is much more openly menacing. It has a strut to it, a cocksure bad-boy swagger of that kind that makes people pull the curtains and lock up their daughters when it comes riding into town.
If anything, I think Timber Timbre remind the most of another of my favourite artists: Micah P. Hinson. The ability to evolve comparatively slowly without being dull, the capacity to shift emotional emphases mid-record to keep you engaged, the darkness with that redeeming vein of sly wit… it’s all at least analogous, if not directly stylistically comparable.
There’s not much more to say really. As far as I am concerned this is a brilliantly constructed album full of songs which, as well as being great as part of the overall work, are all pretty fucking wonderful in their own right. Very few people will be able to approach the quality of this record in 2011, but I look forward to seeing them try.