Every now and again you find a record label you’ve never heard of and you find out they’re putting out some incredible music. Such a label is Utah’s own Northplatte Records, run by Joshua James. Northplatte put out a great album [redacted] by [redacted] and it’s one of my top three favorite albums of all time. It was enough to make me stop and explore some of the label’s other artists.
And that’s how I found the album White Horse by Timmy the Teeth.
Before I get on with this review, I think it’s important to note that in the last decade I’ve become fascinated with different religions, finding commonalities between them, learning about their nuances and peculiarities, and understanding the power of scripture.
Listening to White Horse is a religious experience. I know, I know, that phrase gets thrown around a little too easily by people simply to convey great enthusiasm for whatever is being discussed. We are to understand it as a special fervor or to understand the reviewer as having taken on an evangelical role in support And I guess that all makes sense.
But listening to White Horse is a different kind of religious experience.
It’s an album stuffed full of religious imagery, sometimes direct pulls from the Bible. It’s folk music with Apocalyptic themes. Minor chords that dig into your brain and wait for the night time harvest—some dreams, other nightmares.
I’ve had this album in my collection for a few years, but I forget about it. Not because it isn’t excellent (it is), but because it’s a fairly intense listening experience. When you’re in a certain frame of mind, it is not easy listening. But if you’re in a different certain frame of mind, it’s incredibly powerful.
A few weeks ago I was driving from Wisconsin to Texas to help a friend move. As we drove through Kansas and Oklahoma, as is not at all unexpected, the skies grew dark and a violent thunderstorm made itself known. White Horse was on the stereo and it enhanced the experience. All colors brighter, all sounds more resonant. Some folks might not have embraced the soundtrack, but I suspect plenty of others would.
From what I gather, Timmy the Teeth released another album back in 2015 and a new single in 2017 and those recordings might be a departure from White Horse. Maybe I should have reviewed those as they are more contemporary and reflective of what you might see if you Timmy the Teeth stops in your town on his current tour. But, White Horse is a special album that I worry hasn’t gotten the attention it should have, so I take my stand on that hill.
TL;DR Want to know what it would sound like if the world was ending and a guy with an acoustic guitar and a slight country twang to his vocals sang the soundtrack? Here’s your album. It’s Connor Oberst-esque, but drawing from a religious palate that ups the stakes. It’s your favorite metal band as performed in a coffee house. It’s a fine record and you should check it out.