Monday, June 29, 2015

Trembling Bells "The Sovereign Self"

Country: UK
Genre(s)Experimental Psychedelic Prog Folk
LabelTin Angel Records
FormatCD, digital, vinyl
Release dateJune 29, 2015
  1. 'Tween the Womb and the Tomb 08:06
  2. O, Where is Saint George? 05:48
  3. Killing Time in London Fields 05:52
  4. Sweet Death Polka 06:00
  5. Bells of Burford 07:23
  6. The Singing Blood 05:01
  7. (Perched Like a Drunk on a) Miserichord 04:05
  8. I is Someone Else 06:07
Lavinia Blackwall - vocals, organ, piano, electric guitar, glockenspiel
Mike Hastings - electric guitar, acoustic guitar, vocals
Alasdair C Mitchell - electric guitar, organ, glockenspiel, vocals
Alex Neilson - drums, percussion, whistle, vocals
Simon Shaw - bass, vocals
Sybren Renema - baritone saxophone
Luigi Pasquini - vocals
Sophie Sexon - vocals, flute
John Wilson - violin, mandolin

The Sovereign Self, Trembling Bells' fifth album, finds them at something of a creative crossroads. With an extra guitarist and an increased focus on riffs n' grooves, they sound more conventionally progadelic than they've ever done before. It's out with the tear-jerking Salvation Army brass, in with the silicon fuzz pedals. On the whole the songs are less immediate, the melodies less robust and the structures more diffuse than on previous albums. Yet it seems to me that this might not be such a bad thing, especially since this shift seems largely intentional. Take the album opener, 'Tween The Womb And The Tomb', for example. A disorienting dirge of interlocking guitar themes and discordant organ with singer Lavinia Blackwell's impressive improvisations laced throughout, its themes of existential confusion are perfectly suited to the accompaniment, heralding an album of diminished certainty and increased emotional fractiousness. Likewise the Beefheartian freakbeat of 'Killing Time In London Fields' and the hectic 5/4 acid rock of 'Bells of Burford' contribute to the album's sense of psychological disquiet, an unsettling postscript to the boozy, triumphant emotiveness seen on previous records.
 Read the full review by Danny Riley at thefourohfive.com


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