Timber Timbre creepin’ on the island for local debut

Justin Brake
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Timber Timbre band members (from left) Mika Posen, Taylor Kirk and Simon Trottier, play at Cochrane Street United Church Saturday night. — Submitted photo

Mika Posen wonders what life might have been like had she moved to St. John’s to do a master’s degree in ethnomusicology at Memorial University.

She was on the verge of leaving the Toronto music scene behind, where she is active with other projects like Forest City Lovers and Kite Hill, but then she got a call.

Rising indie musician and songwriter Taylor Kirk, who Posen admits to having admired for some time, was in search of studio musicians for the recording of his third album, under the self-titled moniker Timber Timbre.

“He asked me to play on it, so I did, and when it came time to tour he decided to put together a band, so I started playing live with him a little bit,” Posen recalled during a recent phone interview with The Telegram.

“He would play some shows just with me, and he would play shows with just Simon (Trottier) in Montreal if he went in that direction. And eventually the three of us met and played together.”

The addition of Posen’s touch on piano, violin and percussion and Trottier’s autoharp, lapsteel and electric guitar loops to Kirk’s already dark and melancholy vocals resulted in a depth that, as many critics have said, contributed a greater spookiness to the band’s music.

“Creep On Creepin’ On,” Timber Timbre’s fourth album — second with Posen and Trottier — has lived up to the standard the band set with its 2009 self-titled effort, which was shortlisted for Canada’s Polaris Music Prize.

In July, the new record was shortlisted for the 2011 award.

“I feel like the songs have a timeless quality to them,” said Posen.

“They’re influenced by some older sounding music, like doo-wop (“Black Water”), by rock ‘n’ roll (“Woman,” “Too Old To Die Young,” “Creep On Creepin’ On”). But all of that’s been worked into something new, (where) you can’t pinpoint what era it would have come from at all. It could be from now or from 20 years ago.

“I feel like there’s so many different elements that it transcends time a little bit.”

On stage, Timber Timbre thrives in dark rooms with a touch of red light, their preferred setting, said Posen.

“There is a visual atmosphere that goes along with the show. If things aren’t just right it always feels different. We’ve done outdoor festivals during the daytime in the past and it’s never the same.”

With the band in town for three days, Posen said she will get a chance to explore St. John’s some more and see what could have been.

“It was a really, really tough decision (not to move to St. John’s),” she said.

“It took me months to decide. I spent a week there and loved it.”

Timber Timbre makes its debut St. John’s performance Saturday with a show at Cochrane Street United Church.

They will be joined by emerging local act East of Empire. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. and showtime is 8 p.m.

Tickets are $15 (plus $1 for the church’s restoration fund) and available in advance at Fred’s Records and O’Brien’s Music.

For more information visit www.timbertimbre.com.

Organizations: The Telegram, Cochrane Street United Church

Geographic location: Toronto, Montreal, Canada Black Water

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