Head here to submit your own review of this album.

I can't think of too many bands with as few points of valid comparison as Timber Timbre. They make music in a disarmingly cinematic style; you wonder whether Quentin Tarantino has ever heard their records, because all of them sound as if they could comfortably serve as the soundtrack to some unwritten film of his. In fact, try to imagine a midpoint between Tarantino's approach to atmospheric weirdness and David Lynch's, because the band cast their lot somewhere between the two.

Genre tags are relevant to some degree, of course - the Canadian trio evidently take influence from folk and blues - but it does seem a little redundant to try to group them in with other artists, given that they work in such an unusual way; every instrumental choice and vocal take on Hot Dreams feels like an aesthetic decision, with the cultivation of atmosphere the band's apparent first priority. It's certainly a record that feels like much more than the sum of its parts.

That's mainly because said parts are presented in such a scarce manner; Timber Timbre are pretty unabashed minimalists as far as their sonic palette is concerned, and they're not going to give My Bloody Valentine much of a run for their money in the decibel-bothering stakes. Pretty much everything on Hot Dreams, even the percussion, is quiet; everything's restrained. The album's centrepoint is 'Grand Canyon', a track that, for the first three minutes, is barely there; a quiet rattle of a beat and snatches of bluesy, Dust Bowl guitars that conjure up images of the titular crevasse.

Perhaps it's the disquieting quality that Taylor Kirk's voice has - his beguilingly rich tones are eerie enough even without the layer of faint echo that tends to be applied as standard - but when 'Grand Canyon' reaches a frenetic jazz freakout of a climax, it doesn't seem out of place. It's as if every track on Hot Dreams carries a strange sense of foreboding; there isn't always a payoff, but it's a record drenched in such weirdness that it doesn't feel surprising when the band do take a left turn.

'Beat the Drum Slowly' actually takes the two idiosyncrasies that define the band - their penchant for the cinematic and their creepy experiments with mood - and pushes them to cartoonish extremes. There's a grating, barely tuneful flute flickering away in the background as the song flits between the serene and the almost comically sinister; the marching band percussion is slight, but still ominous, whilst the last minute or so is punctuated by distorted wails of feedback that sound like they might have been plucked from the soundtrack to the ghost train at a low-budget carnival.

It's a shame that they start off so spectacularly on the wrong foot, because there's plenty of evidence of the band getting things right; the title track's gentle textures belie the skewed fantasies conveyed by the lyrics, with soft wurlitzer and a pitch-perfect saxophone solo keeping things appropriately offbeat. 'Run from Me' morphs from piano ballad to throbbing-bass psychedelia in brilliantly menacing fashion, and there's real verve to the spiralling strut of 'The New Tomorrow' and 'This Low Commotion'; Kirk's increasingly dramatic turn on the latter is a real highlight. Closer 'The Three Sisters' threatens to repeat the mistakes of the album's other bookend, with a persistent, gutturally-low piano taking a similarly on-the-nose approach to creating a threatening atmosphere, but the track soon descends into a wistful, brass-led instrumental that feels like a fitting epilogue.

There's no question that Timber Timbre have carved out their own niche, and Hot Dreams is no less eccentric than its predecessors. They're capable of generating an intriguing unease when they keep things subtle, but for an album that so often sounds stripped-back, there's a surprisingly frequent tendency towards the kitchen sink here, at least in atmospheric terms. Hot Dreams isn't perfect, then, but it is different - and genuine experimentation always demands attention.