Timber Timbre’s music is dark and disquieting — and enthralling precisely because of that. Noir-ish guitars and booming percussion (“Sewer Blues”) nestle quite comfortably alongside chilled electronics (“Skin Tone”), industrial clang and clatter (“Sincerely, Future Pollution”), and shadowy, glammed-up funk (“Grifting”). Meanwhile, frontman Taylor Kirk spins sordid, alienating tales in a mercurial voice reminiscent of Richard Hawley, Nick Cave, and David Bowie.
In the announcement for Sincerely, Future Pollution, Kirk wrote of the influence that 2016’s political landscape had on the album’s creation: “I hate to admit that normally I express more sensitivity than concern politically, but I think the tone and result on the record is utter chaos and confusion… [T]he mockery made of our power system spawned a lot of dark, dystopic thoughts and ideas.”
While it doesn’t really drop any names or make any too-obvious allusions, Sincerely, Future Pollution nevertheless paints a harrowing-yet-captivating portrait of society and life gone awry. The lyrics are often abstract — e.g., “I’m the hero of the human highway/I’m the savior of the atmosphere/Overdue by assassination/Promoting racial vaccination and fear” (“Western Questions”) — but they nevertheless tap into the unease so many of us feel given our current socio-political climate.
When I set out to learn more about Timber Timbre — who was previously unknown to me until I stumbled across Sincerely, Future Pollution — I saw them described as “gothic folk” and saw references to Leonard Cohen and Blade Runner. Having listened to Sincerely, Future Pollution multiple times now, I think “gothic folk” is over-reaching things a bit: Death in June or Sol Invictus they most certainly are not. And though the band set out to chronicle “utter chaos and confusion” on the album, they never succumb to it.
Sincerely, Future Pollution’s songs may paint grim, unsettling pictures, but such is our (political) reality these days, and Timber Timbre do so in a spellbinding fashion. But this also means that when moments of warmth and lightness do appear on the album — such as when Kirk implores “Give this a bit more life/Stay a little longer now” as the album winds down with “Floating Cathedral” — they’re all the more affecting.