Timbre Coup ‘Knuckles and Valleys’

The third album from Timbre Coup, following the release of 2010’s Check Out This, will be released on Thursday, February 23rd on the final night of their month-long residency at Jillians of Albany.

Twelve tracks for the twelve months of the year, written over the course of 2009, one song each month and gaining the appropriate monthly title as the year progressed. The writing process, as shared by drummer Matt Pickering, “Some songs we tried to capture the mood or feeling of the month in lyrics of music, a couple we just wrote what we were feeling at the time. The mixing on the album reflects how we think the months sound.” The songs have all been played live but for those new to Timbre Coup, they can see how the music portrays the month while existing fans will hear different versions of songs they are already familiar with.

With tracks as easy as these to name in order, a brief description of what to expect from this impressive junior effort:

January – There’s some Tool in here, along with a Middle Eastern jazz infusion and dark vocals, inspired by gritty 90s grunge. Great start to the album/year.

February – A great bass line opens up into a groovy beat, followed by a refrain “This has only just begun” with a mellow sax not unlike Careless Whisper.

March – Instrumental prog-rock goodness; this could be a soundtrack for a boat adrift at sea, encountering storms and finally placid at the end.

April – A musical thunderstorm, great lyrics and wonderful guitar work on a hallmark track.

May – Bass n drums foundation with building guitar licks before a break in the song; the song starts again with more intensity in the second half, growing to great heights. Solid.

June – A homemade electronic feast without missing a beat, strongest track so far, makes for great dancing; lyrics include ‘Keep it pumpin’ till the night is through, it’s a summer rhythm…’

July – Spastic guitar propels the tune forward, the arching solos create the melting rhythms.

August – Another Middle Eastern infusion at the outset, lyrics are celebratory “The day is mine!” as the quartet turn to Mexican influences for an end of summer jam.

September – An airy trance starts off the ninth track, a purely electronic track from four musicians who create a spooky techno song without needing a laptop; pure musical talent in the month of September.

October – Harsh and gritty, machine-gun guitar vs. sweep solo guitar.

November – Indie rock at first, but quickly supplanted by the come-to-expect deep grooves that accent the lyrics and harmony vocals.

December – Industrial beats mark the beginning, rocking and jamming all the way through. A perfect way to cap off a magnificent album.

So, what’s your favorite month?

Key tracks: April, June, September, December