Sophocles. Dennis Potter. The painter El Greco. Not the usual collection of influences that go towards shaping an album, but then Trembling Bells are not your usual sort of band. Oh, there’s a break-up with a girl in there somewhere, too, of course. That’s more the typical sort of thing, isn’t it?
"I last saw the group in April 2016, they were joined on stage by vast dancing carnival figures, masked horses in multi-coloured diaphanous cloaks. I wept with the sheer joy of it all." - Stewart Lee
Trembling Bells formed in 2008, born from Glasgow’s close-knit scene, united by shared tastes, passions and imagination. “We all like music on a forensic level,” says drummer Alex Neilson. “We’re all obsessive, pedantic, maladjusted, unemployable nerds.”
It is tempting to regard them as a band out of time, five tempunauts who would rather be hanging out in the studio of William Morris, or Weimar-era Berlin, or quaffing cider in Merrie England than in the sometimes tawdry, often dull world of social networking and digital downloads. They seem profoundly nostalgic, yearning for the past like a child for its mother. Is that fair comment? “Possibly,” says Neilson. “I’m a little bit cautious about that because we get called folk-rock quite a lot. But no, I don’t really relate to much of the modern world. I feel that there’s a lot to learn from 30,000 years of civilisation.”
Plus special guest: Baby Copperhead
Building on his “otherworldly” folk roots, Brooklyn-based Ben Lee (a.k.a. Baby Copperhead) explores of a broken, dissonant sort of Americana, one in which repressed elements from our cultural past—the banjo’s African origins, polyphonic borrowings from 16th century European sacred music—return amidst the ones and zeros of digital metering, sonic figures sculpted by programmable machines, and distant voices broadcast as radio waves over discarded technological channels.
*Please note that the venue change, from Proud Camden to Bethnal Green Working Mens Club, is due to the unexpected closure of the original venue.