Michael Timmons – Bone Coloured

On his debut album Bone Coloured, Glasgow singer-songwriter Michael Timmons reminds us that sometimes feeling miserable is okay

Album Review by Tony Inglis | 23 Feb 2018
  • Michael Timmons – Bone Coloured
Album title: Bone Coloured
Artist: Michael Timmons
Label: Gargleblast Records
Release date: 23 Feb

Glasgow singer-songwriter Michael Timmons’ long gestating debut album Bone Coloured arrives unassumingly, much like the artist himself. The closest fans have come to the ten-song collection is Timmons’ quietly powerful live shows where, as he jokingly describes it, he plays miserable songs for people who want to feel miserable too.

This full-length LP comes bolstered with production from Andy Miller, whose credits include the cream of Scottish indie music – Mogwai, The Delgados, and Life Without Buildings’ cult record Any Other City. Tellingly, he also worked with Jason Molina on his Songs: Ohia project. Timmons’ reverb-laden guitar tones are atmospheric for sure, but his intimate approach rings closer to Molina’s music than the sweeping sonics of post-rock. Without comparing Timmons to Molina, an artist whose status as a genius with a gift for melody is rapidly growing, it’s clear to see why Miller was attracted to working with him.

These are dark and sombre songs, heavy with personal detail, the meaning of which is often difficult to discern. But the reason these words resonate is not their hyper-relatability but the sense of place and memory they conjure. Bone Coloured is littered with mentions of forgetting and remembering, and places significance on the connection between music and memory – both as the impetus for songs as well as the result of them. This is apparent in the very first line of the album’s opening salvo, Painting: 'Are you finished yet? Is it time to forget?'. This is anchored in Timmons' work with Scottish broadcaster Sally Magnusson’s Playlist for Life initiative, which trains carers to use music to help keep dementia sufferers connected to their families and themselves.

The textures of the record also signal a marked step up for Timmons. His haunting, but rather spare, live sound is garnished with lovely flourishes that add to the warmth of the album, whether that be the addition of field recordings rustling under the surface of his guitar, or the seemingly electronically garbled, reverse strums that open standout track Stride.

Bone Coloured is an incredibly accomplished debut that ebbs close to the emo-inflected sound of Elliott Smith or, more recently, Julien Baker, and it’s a style Timmons pulls off impressively. Much like those artists, Timmons’ music reminds us that sometimes feeling miserable is okay, especially when there’s someone singing to you in solidarity at the other end of your aux cable.

Listen to: Painting, Material, Stride

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