Tim Baker Throws an Uplifting Party with 'The Festival'

BY Ryley RemediosPublished Oct 19, 2022

Three years after his debut album Forever Overheard, Newfoundland's Tim Baker is officially back with a record of post-pandemic anthems that call out for love and connection after a time of intense creative isolation. 

The Festival finds Baker backed by choirs, harmonies, and female voices throughout the majority of its punchy choruses. Baker immediately nods to the album's title (and its closing title track) on opener, "Lucky Few," longing for belonging as he cries, "I want your heat & your sweat & your hand in my back at the festival." There's a cyclical nature to The Festival — it's a contained universe in itself. Sitting at 10 tracks total, we're invited into Baker's workflow; writing and making songs alone at home, yearning for that human connection and shared emotion that was lost over the past two years. 

He doesn't stray far from his typical heartfelt sound, throwing in mid-tracklist lullabies like "Jungle Suite" and acapella intros on "My Kind" that eventually breaks into a sing-along chant. However, some of that spark is lost about halfway through the album, where simple guitar chords and paired down vocals deflate some of Baker's energy. 

Released one month before the album drop date, "Echo Park" continues to be the standout single that ties all of his homesick ideas together; moving to Los Angeles, feeling lost and asking if the palm trees are hands reaching out to him, the track was written years ago while Baker was still fronting Hey Rosetta! 

While shifting in momentum throughout, the project grows in confidence until a burning electric guitar riff and a frenzied saxophone clash into the album's dramatic finale. The piano pedal lifts — a nice detail not usually heard in recorded music — and as he walks away from his instruments, Baker reminds us about the importance of "finding your people, finding your best self, finding your dream, and actually being thankful for difficulty and pain and separation." This reveal of the true self is especially showcased in the way Baker digs in and really uses his singing voice on this album, cutting a little deeper than we've ever heard him before. 

Full of impressive arrangements and a sense of freedom, The Festival feels playful and experimental — a new side of Baker that feels care-free and celebratory while still tugging gracefully at the heartstrings. It is meant to be played loud — the kind of loud you want filling intimate, wood-burning rooms, surrounded by loved ones, laughing and stumbling around you in celebration.
(End Times Music )

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