When they booked a gig at his birthday party, Dan Auerbach of the Black Keys became so smitten that he decided to produce their first album, 2010's "We All Started In the Same Place." The album is a charming, tangential foray that mates nursery rhyme melodies, Kimya Dawson/Adam Green speak-sing harmonies and a humorous, macabre musical sensibility that makes a song like "Nose Nose Nose" sound like a jocund, yet trippy nightmare.
The labyrinthine nature of Shivering Timbers' work lends to their oeuvre of grim mysticism. Dramatic tracks like "Evening Prayer" sound like a dead end following songs like "See-Saw Sacradown" -- the latter would be at home sung to a child at bedtime. Then "Three Young Rats" erupts with a disorienting dose of Scottish influences that incorporate the tone of a bagpipe.
Shivering Timbers' second LP, 2012's "Sing Sing," treads the same path heard on "We All Started In the Same Place." The sonically ominous sound of the band never ceases to be foreboding. Their songs sound like dark fairy tales where the creatures, however harmless, look ferocious. "Big Fire" could soundtrack a story where spritely beings -- all colored black, with translucent gray wings and red pupils -- guide the lost home with the assumed benevolence of those painted white, gold and glitter. Rather than sounding like the elegy of a carnival freak, their music is filled with whimsically dark elements suited for a Jim Henson film, à la "The Dark Crystal."
All photos by Caroline Philippone.