Trembling Bells sit close to the heart of Glasgow's experimental arts scene, a group whose incisions upon the flesh of the traditional folk song canon have produced some stunning results in their own right.
New album 'The Sovereign Self' continues this journey. Rooted in folk – of the wyrd variety – it's the sound of The Incredible String Band fused with an awareness of more modern, whimsically radical innovations. A fine ensemble piece, eight minute opening cut 'Tween The Womb And The Tomb' is a fantastic introduction, a literal and metaphorical journey into strange musical lands.
The band's first album since 2012's Will Oldham steered collaboration 'The Marble Downs', the material has a noir bent evident on 'Sweet Death Polka' or 'Killing Time In London Fields'. Yet through there is also a joy, a zest in parading across fresh ground. '(Perched Like A Drunk On A) Miserichord' has a palpable sense of intoxicated glee, while 'Bells Of Burford' displays an uproarious pursuit of harmony.
Referencing everything from Dennis Potter (the title comes from one of his television plays) to Lavinia Blackwell and St. George, 'The Sovereign Self' is a universe unto itself. A vast mosaic of references and influences, what shines through most prominently of all is the sheer individuality of Trembling Bells' approach and musical voice. Well worth imbibing.
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