Timber Timbre Marquee Club, Halifax NS, January 23

Timber Timbre Marquee Club, Halifax NS, January 23
Under a haze of apocalyptic red lights, Taylor Kirk and the rest of Timber Timbre wasted no time kicking off their first show of 2014 with the unfamiliar.

"Thank you for letting us try some new songs," said Kirk, as the crowd was treated to several tracks from the band's upcoming album Hot Dreams, due out in April. The new material eschewed the lounge-style staccato piano that defined Creep On Creepin' On for a murkier, bass-heavy melodic core. The standout was the new record's title track: a swoony, 6/8 waltz that was lacking only a mirrorball for maximum effect.

Admittedly, I've always had a bit of trouble separating Timber Timbre's performance sensibilities from their influences — Nick Cave being the most obvious — but live, the band succeeds with its impressive control of dynamics. With Kirk's deep-but-soulful vocals at the centre, the band layers each song with escalating levels of melody and drone that, as they collide, feel ominously powerful.

The set wound down with older songs like "Lonesome Hunter" and a particularly great "Trouble Comes Knocking," which evolved from tightly wound nervousness at the start to a cacophonous wall of sound. Timber Timbre may echo familiar tunes at times, but the band's force can often be soul-shaking.