The Timbers
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The Timbers

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia

Adelaide, South Australia, Australia
Band Folk Alternative

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"'Greet the Sun' Review"

We’ve been eagerly anticipating this Greet The Sun EP from The Timbers at Timber & Steel. I mentioned it in the profile I published on them in December last year, so it’s been quite a while coming for the 4 piece South Australian folk act, who have been whetting our appetites with constant gigging throughout Adelaide in particular.
When I opened the package that I received in the mail containing my copy of the CD, I was immediately excited by what confronted me. The front cover, simple though it is, is perfectly suitable, but when I flipped it over and found the track listing, memories came flooding back to me of all these great songs I’ve seen live but haven’t been able to take home with me.

Sometimes when I want to write about a release, I’ll put it on repeat for a couple of hours, or until I get sick of it. Sure, it’s a fairly hefty method, but I figure if you know something well enough to get sick of it, you know it well enough to write about it. Then I publish the article, give the CD a rest for a while, and soon I’ll be ready to continue listening to it whenever. I did this for Greet The Sun and iTunes has my play-count at 17 for each track, which when added together, nearly totals 6 hours of listening over the last 2 days. The only thing is; I’m not sick of it yet.
The EP begins with the longest track on the release, “Creeping Shade”. Like the majority of The Timbers‘ songs, this one has un underlying traditional Irish sound, but penetrating through it, to a much greater extent than usual, is an element of distinctly Australian-folk. This song would not be out of place on a Paul Kelly album, and its thoughtful lyricism is a welcome contrast to some more light-hearted songs, such as the next one- “Let Your Hair Down”. The song is about exactly what it sounds like- letting loose, and boasts a fantastically fitting composition for the subject. This song has always been a particular favourite of mine. The powerful short, sharp blasts of chords throughout the verses, the quick moving guitar picking and vocal delivery leading into the chorus, and then the tandem acoustic guitar and violin riff throughout it all culminates into a brilliant crowd-mover. It’s laced with little features like articulated percussion flares, the harmonious group chorus, and of course the short reprise, that just add that touch of class to take the track past the quality that you would realistically expect from a local act.
“This Scar” is another playful track. Whilst, the song sounds like a lot of fun to play, I’m less fond of the track compared to the rest of the EP. Like the other songs- it is well recorded and mixed. I don’t know when the bar was raised with local recordings, but it seems as if more and more acts are getting it right- which The Timbers certainly did. But watching them live, you always knew they would. Even their live performance recordings on Radio Adelaide were practically studio-quality (see video below). The following track “The Traveller” is, again, simple in its idea and lyricism. Halfway through the song, you think it’s going to be a cute little fable about trust and naivety, before it slows into a group chorus of murder and revenge in true pre-war American folk fashion (“She stood me up so I’ll shoot her down”), which is then followed by an uplifting key change and tempo restoration while The Timbers unashamedly celebrate by singing “Now I stand up and she lies down, 6 feet underground. I never cried, no-more will she ride with my cash, my ticket and my pride!”
Could a folk act really release an EP without a ballad? Well, The Timbers go close. Their song “All Your Say”- a song of optimism for the New-Year- is probably the closest they come. It’s short, begins slow and moves into a quicker violin decorated arrangement, but somehow retains that ballad-like quality. The title track of the EP, and last song on the CD, “Greet The Sun”, is my favourite song from The Timbers. Like the previous song, it starts slow, but this song moves so gradually into its epic climax that you hardly notice it’s happening. The track is perfect- from the left to right vocal-fade of the verse to the continuation of the vocal melody throughout the bridge with layers of violins and guitars until it finally reaches the point where the group chorus joins, enlisting the vocal talents from locals including members of Matt Reiner & The Aunt Sallys and The Thieves.
The Timbers’ EP launch, featuring Bearded Gypsy Band and Sworn Brothers (The Thieves acoustic), at The Promethean sold out, which, for Adelaide, is quite an achievement. Like their support acts, they’ve created a reputation for themselves as coming-together of traditional and contemporary folk influences that people just can’t help but move to. The Timbers are back on the road again touring Tasmania and Victoria, so make sure you take the opportunity to see them if you’re in or around the areas they’re travelling through. Full tour dates are below
- Timber and Steel


"Spotlight On: The Timbers"


The Timbers are one of those acts you desperately want to tell people about, but at the same time, you dread having to summarise. This Adelaide four-piece delve into genres like bluegrass, country, roots, celtic, folk, gypsy and punk all at once in a manner which is surprisingly natural.
The band consists of guitarist and lead singer Simon Basey (whom simultaneously plays bass pedals), lead guitarists and back up vocalist Benjamin Roberts, violinist Sarah O’Brien and percussionist Craig Atkins. The overall musical outcome of this combination of instruments yields variable results. Sometimes the sound is Mountain Goats-esque, lyric driven acoustic rock, other songs sound like traditional celtic-folk affairs, but most of the time the sound is a mongrel combination of it all that for some reason just effortlessly works.
Having only formed late in 2009, The Timbers have been doing all the right things in developing a considerable local awareness and following. Most of Adelaide’s small-to-medium sized venues have played host to them this year, usually in support of other like-minded alternative-folk groups. Their packed-to-the-rafters gig at the Crown and Anchor Hotel in July supporting The Bearded Gypsy Band and The Woohoo Revue was particularly enjoyable, and fully demonstrated their ability to win over a crowd, who were predominantly there to see the other acts.
Whilst The Timbers have embarked on a couple of tours interstate and to Kangaroo Island, the airplay, gigs and fan-base at the moment seem to be mostly centralised in Adelaide. But it is early days. The Timbers are on the verge of finishing up an EP which will elaborate on their 3-track demo released at the start of the year, and have been announced on the line-up for January’s Elizapalooza festival which brings a showcase of Adelaide talent (including Dialect & Despair, Pagen Elypsis, The Killgirls, etc.) to outer-northern suburbs of the city where live music rarely reaches.
If you’re in Adelaide, head to the Queen’s Arms Hotel this Friday the 17th of December to see The Timbers play with Ben David (The Thieves), who himself will be releasing a new album and music video in the coming months.
- Timber and Steel


"The Timbers. Self Titled Demo CD (independent)"

This three song demo CD by Adelaide folk rock band The Timbers is a treat. It provides a fascinating blend of trad-folk stylings reminiscent of planxty, The Pogues or even Adelaide’s (now defunct) Whiplash with a contemporary feel in a John Butler Trio/ Xavier Rudd mould. The mixing of all these influences produces a distinct and fresh sounding result that carries an energy all of its own which is extremely infectious. I could imagine these guys producing a scene of mayhem and wild dancing at their shows. The musicianship is extremely good – and – also technical, which adds a ‘special’ factor to the demo.

At the centre of The Timbers is Simon Basey who commands an accomplished hand at songwriting which allows for tasteful and impressive instrumentation. ‘Dig my Grave’ starts in a simple acoustic manner that recalls Cat Stevens. The song builds with the introduction of some well placed guitar work played in the folk style. The rest of the band enters and the overall sound is energetic and joyful. The vocals of Basey have a sense of urgency about them, which adds to the cracking pace that is set by the rest of the band. Of particular mention here is the percussion talents of Craig Atkins whose versatility as a man of many rhythms helps the rollicking times along tremendously. The violin playing by Sarah O’Brien is also impressive and skillfully employed.

The standout track is the tow tapping ‘Running’. From the outset of the song, the folk flavourings are brilliantly displayed. The 1970’s Irish Celtic band Horslips comes to mind immediately, but even more exciting is the astonishing similarity in vocals by Simon Basey to Luke Kelly (RIP) from The Dubliners. (!!) Basey’s vocals almost growl in places and the fiddle lines are frantically delivered to serve the song in the best possible way. These guys should be headlining folk festivals around the country! Oh Yes! ‘The Natural Way’ is a more contemporary sounding affair that bounces along with some fine fiddle play by O’Brien and added vocal harmonies that lift proceedings – supplied by multi-instrumentalist Benjamin Roberts. Credit must also be given to Emily Davis and Luc Steinberg for the production and overall great sound on this recording.

The Timbers have struck a rare chord in successfully leaning on a Celtic-trad vein and still able to present a sound and vibe that the local indie pundits are going to think is cool and now. Not every band have a) the musicianship, b) the technical ability or c) the knowledge of the right influences to do this, so it is a triple triumph to celebrate for The Timbers in achieving this in a demo. One boggles at what this band could do given the scope of recording a full length album. We live in hope for this time to arrive quickly. I’m converted. The Timbers www.myspace.com/thetimbersband
- Quiet Pop Zine


Discography

"Greet the Sun" EP released March 2011
6 track live EP: Live in 3D (Quiet Pop 2010)

Photos

Bio

THE TIMBERS’ thumping rhythms and big misty mountain melodies will cast you away to the sweaty, smoky, melting-pot of roots, folk, and Celtic bushman punk. Their explosive start in the Adelaide music scene is worthy recognition of this bands ability to marry exceptional musicianship with highly accomplished songwriting. Hailing from far away lands such as Kangaroo Island, Tasmania, the Riverland, and the Adelaide Hills, the four members have worked tirelessly together to create a unique high energy musical experience.
The instrumentation of this band is quite unique with vocalist and rhythm guitarist, Simon Basey also playing the bass lines utilising foot operated bass pedals and Benjamin Roberts on dexterous lead guitar, backing vocals, tin whistle, stomp box, mandolin, banjo and foot percussion. The quartet is rounded out with the beautifully crafted violin lines and subtle backing vocals of Sarah O’Brien and the stirring rhythmic grooves of percussionist Craig Atkins on cajon, djembe, congas, and didgeridoo.
Their style has a distinctive alternative folk groove reminiscent of musical influences such as The Pogues, Iron and Wine, Flogging Molly, The Mountain Goats, and Mumford and Sons. Their raucous live performances, relevance and musicianship gives them the drive and determination to aspire to the accomplishment of those mentioned as muses.
Their debut EP ‘Greet the Sun’ was very well received and was a regular in the 3D radio 20+1 Charts since its release in March 2011. “I could see myself getting drunk and slapping my knee to this” (Gregg Donovan – Manager Airbourne, Grinspoon, Josh Pyke)
THE TIMBERS have toured three times through Victoria and Tasmania and performed at nearly every music venue in Adelaide. They have played countless music festivals in Adelaide and interstate and supported acts such as The Audrey’s, The Beards, Ben Salter, Adalita, Special Patrol, Woohoo Revue, Cal Williams Jr.
Their dynamic and passionate approach to performing has made them a “must see” act on the Adelaide live music scene. With loyal and enthusiastic fans, growing with each gig, their reputation and fan base is ever increasing with their appeal not confined to a single age bracket. Watching a Timbers show, leaves you feeling alive yet exhausted, inspired yet overwhelmed, but by and large excited about the future of Australian music.