Why Timber Timbre should win the Polaris Prize

Timber Timbre (photo by Kathryn Gaitens)

by Michael Thomas

If there were a Juno award for “Most Atmospheric Album” it would definitely go to Creep On Creepin’ On. Listening to this album is almost like the soundtrack to a psychological thriller. The album’s ten tracks are the terror one feels when they think something is sneaking up behind them.

No joke, as I was writing this very article (and listening to the album itself), the light in my room burnt out and for a split second I felt a panic that I wouldn’t have felt if I hadn’t been listening to Creep On Creepin’ On.

The Polaris Prize is awarded to the album with the most artistic merit. It’s really hard to go farther than Timber Timbre did here. While their previous album was a lot more divisive than I had thought, critics are pretty much unanimous in their praise here. This effort sounds a lot less minimalistic than their 2009 self-titled record, and that’s a compliment. Front man Taylor Kirk makes good use of permanent bandmates, and, to boot, he has the also-short-listed Colin Stetson lend his tremendous talent to their sound.

As far as genres go, the best description for Creep On CreepinOn is alternative folk, though this description is very loose. One doesn’t hear too many folk albums that feature screeching (not sweeping) strings and crazy improvisational horn solos (thanks again. Colin Stetson).

The album features seven songs with vocals and three without, and both kinds of songs do well to preserve the almost-terrifying atmosphere Kirk & co. conjure. Album opener “Bad Ritual” is a terrific opener, where Kirk sings “It’s a bad, bad, ritual/But it calms me down.” When it’s followed by the screeching “Obelisk” you may jump out of your seat.

The most badass song is by far “Woman” which also is accompanied by a trippy video featuring Slim Twig. Take a moment to watch this.

“Swamp Water” is the most musically fascinating- there are so many instruments at work here that it’s hard to keep track of everything.

Throw in the sprawling “Blackwater” and the unpredictable “Do I Have Power” and you’ve got yourself a record that can (and should) be played over and over again.

And every Polaris winner should make you want to listen to their album over and over again.

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