Time apart served the Swedish pop trio Peter Bjorn and John well, as they return with a still-catchy, sonically broader album.
If The Bang Bang Bar from Twin Peaks was a real place, it’s definitely where Timber Timbre would have gotten their start as the house band. Bizarre, hesitant and at times unsettling, the blues-tinged psychedelic folk trio’s latest album, Sincerely, Future Pollution, is a fitting soundtrack for our current political situation. Marked with reverberating chords that hang thick in the air and images of “a Coney Island mermaid caught out in the sludge tide,” the album bobs along in a heavy atmosphere. It creeps from cautious optimism to throbbing despair and back again as if moving through fog.
Timber Timbre formed in Toronto in 2005, and Sincerely, Future Pollution is their sixth studio album, following the more whimsical Hot Dreams (2014). Recorded near Paris, Sincerely, Future Pollution is a reflection of the chaos that’s been unfolding around us, and it’s easy to feel the uncertainty of our times woven throughout. If you close your eyes on the album’s title track, you can almost picture the steam rising from the manholes of a dark, crumbling city.
Although Sincerely, Future Pollution is rife with themes of societal decline, it’s balanced with comparatively brighter tracks like “Grifting” and “Moment.” The latter arrives with an unexpected drive right before the ceiling starts to slowly lower with the despondent “Sewer Blues.” Tense numbers like “Bleu Nuit” are a metaphor for the giant echo chamber that comprises our pundit class, as the listener literally struggles to hear the lyrics through the layers of fuzzy noise.
Vocalist Taylor Kirk is a little bit of Johnny Cash mixed with Stephin Merritt, but with a velvety, delicate touch that helps to counteract the heaviness of the album. He also shows a bit of cheekiness on tracks like “Cathedral Blues” when he sings the lyrics, “I felt like half a man, the king of devotion, his death on Instagram.” It’s a nice reminder that even though these are dreadful times, it’s best not to take oneself too seriously.
Overall Sincerely, Future Pollution is a grim, lovely nod to our collective anguish and the realization that the future is more uncertain than it’s ever been. That feeling of doom is, unfortunately, totally and completely normal, so it’s OK if you want to feel numb for a little bit. After all, you are not dreaming, no matter how much you wish you were.»
– Crystal Contreras