Perhaps a surprising concept for such an enjoyable album, droning blues with overtones of necrophilia suits Canadian band Timber Timbre very well on their fourth album Creep On Creepin’ On. Led by Taylor Kirk’s deep, nostalgic croon reminiscent of the likes of Nick Cave, the trio fashion an eerie version of blues. With its mixture of orchestral soundscapes and sinister, disdainful lyrics the record creates a bleak atmosphere, but not an uninviting one.
Creep On Creepin’ On is at times a very morbid album, and would perhaps not be suited to the barbeque season which is currently occurring. It screams darkness. Lyrically, the record tells the tale of a man fighting the dark side and not winning. Opener ‘Bad Ritual’, a creepy, funky yet relaxed affair, boasts the lyrics “I’ve felt your poltergeist presence in the frame of the bed” and “I found depravity convinced me, I may no longer care”. Much of the lyrical content is redolent of gothic fiction, though it occasionally stumbles into pretentiousness. On ‘Lonesome Hunter’, Kirk beautifully evokes the image of helpless infatuation, singing “I’m walking like a zombie to your bed”.
Mostly, the album is defined by the simple drums and bass setup with delicate yet relentless piano chords played over most songs. Brass and string sections are used to perfection, their use always seemingly entirely necessary and never out of place. This is well demonstrated on the title track ‘Creep On Creepin’ On’, which contains a beautifully restrained saxophone solo.
There are points at which some filler material appears, such as the instrumental pieces used to segue some of the more conventional songs. These do, however, grow on the listener over time, though they would make little musical sense outside the context of this album. Weaker songs like ‘Do I Have Power’ are fortunately far outweighed by very strong efforts such as ‘Too Old To Die Young’, building from a groovy beat with echoing vocals to a romantic-sounding soulful chorus of “I’m giving it all up” to the sound of Hitchcockian string stabs. At its best, Creep On Creepin’ On manages to feel entirely creepy and at the same time unavoidably welcoming.
Despite a few tracks feeling like filler material, Creep On Creepin’ On is a solid album. Timber Timbre walk the line between drone and dirge successfully and make the phrase ‘Canadian folk-blues band’ actually sound exciting.
7 out of 10