Timberline Releases Epic New album
Delicate but still strangely decadent in its low-fidelity ambition, “Horsetooth” skulks out of the darkness and gives us a polite nod with its strings that tells us everything we need to know about its story before a single lyric has been sung. In this song, as well as its tracklist neighbor in the eighty-second heartbreaker “Jeep,” “Anon #4,” and the heavy piano piece “February 13th,” the instrumentation is going to weave the fabric of the narrative behind the new album Florescence by Timberline better than any vocalist ever could have on their own.
“Now” and “Every Night” already exploit the heavenly harmonies of the golden-throated Timberline seemingly as much as any good material ever could, but somehow he doesn’t sound depleted in any of the other songs included in this twenty-slot tracklist. Florescence flirts with minimalism in “I Miss Now” and “Every Night,” but at the end of the day, its lyrics are too open and honest with the listener for the album they’re included in to be born of a conservative compositional wit exclusively. This is an LP clearly about getting a lot off of this young man’s chest, and with everything he can muster, he doesn’t relent from giving us anything on his mind.
“August Snows,” if electrified, would arguably be a pretty solid emo track, but its acoustic state ties its blue hue more to a traditional Americana than it does anything in the punk rock lexicon. “Long Sleeves” and “Temporary” feel like two sides of the same creative coin at first glance, but the grandiosity of the latter’s string play forever separates the instrumental glow of one over the other.
Although I would have stuck “Hi” closer to the start of the record than I would have “Anon #4” and the skip-stepping “Telogen,” it doesn’t disrupt the emotional flow of Florescence’s midsection so much as it contributes a different poetic dimension I wasn’t expecting to find here. “So Lost” and “Towhee” left me destroyed and aching for the embrace of a distant lover, but I don’t get the impression that this wasn’t what Timberline was trying to do with these two songs. We run the emotional gamut with him in this LP, and he proves himself beyond a reasonable doubt to be one of the most astute guides for such a journey along the way.
In passionately contemplative songs like “Better Days,” “Shade,” “Flannel,” and “Second Guess,” we aren’t being made to listen to a lot of internalized whining reborn atop perfect melodies, but instead the guarded thoughts of a singer/songwriter who knows the right harmonies to combine them with. Florescence gets simple in “Static” just as it gets a little complicated in its title song, and upon reaching the end of the tracklist it’s hard to step away from what we’ve just heard without feeling a bit honored to have been allowed so close to someone so clearly vulnerable as Timberline is here. His is a contribution to the soundtrack of this new era I won’t soon forget, and one of the best albums of the last two years to drop from an indie source period.