Trembling Bells have changed direction once again – but now sound so frantic that they almost fail to do themselves justice. This Glasgow-based band started out as the quirky new heroes of the British psych-folk scene, influenced by the Incredible String Band, British folk songs and Americana. Then they switched to the rousing, melodic anthems of The Constant Pageant, an album dominated by the soaring, operatic vocals of Lavinia Blackwell. I had been expecting a return to those folk roots after their collaborations with the ISB’s Mike Heron and their contribution to the recent Shirley Collins tribute album, but the arrival of a second guitarist has encouraged a relentless, full-tilt approach and pounding riffs that often swamp the vocals. There are some fine songs here, from the gloriously strange O, Where Is Saint George? to the epic I Is Someone Else, but the album’s excitedly noisy production would benefit from greater degree of variety.
Trembling Bells: The Sovereign Self review – frantic, full-tilt folk-rock
Robin Denselow is a journalist and broadcaster who specialises in music and politics. He is the author of When The Music's Over, a history of political pop