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TREMBLING BELLS

Prog Folk • United Kingdom


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Trembling Bells biography
If there needed anymore proof that Scotland's greatest contribution to "pro" was through the folk music realm, then Trembling Bells is a modern day exhibit A in the "progdom" trial. This almost pure folk Glaswegian formation might not be very "rock", but its unusual instrumentations and complex arrangements, foraying in classical and jazz territory, certainly make it worthy of the proghead's investigations. Normally a female-singer fronted quartet, TB featured twice as many musicians on their Carbeth debut album, which was released in 2009 on the small Honest Johns label and often remained close to the very traditional clichés of UK folk music, including a crystal-clear female voice that's much reminiscent of Denny, McShee, Gaskin, Dyble and many more but the male vocals are sharing the spotlight as well, giving that typical duet vocal sound that typifies the genre.
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Early 2010 saw the release of Trembling Bells' second album Abandoned Love on the same label, but this time, the guest were clearly defined and including a strong string section.

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The Constant PageantThe Constant Pageant
Honest Jon's 2011
$14.25
$20.77 (used)
DungenessDungeness
Tin Angel 2018
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$12.76 (used)
Wide Majestic AireWide Majestic Aire
PROPER 2016
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$4.96 (used)
The Sovereign SelfThe Sovereign Self
PROPER 2015
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$10.12 (used)
CarbethCarbeth
Honest Jon's 2009
$29.23
$13.99 (used)
Abandoned LoveAbandoned Love
Honest Jon's 2010
$8.82
$7.49 (used)
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TREMBLING BELLS discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

TREMBLING BELLS top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.00 | 1 ratings
Carbeth
2009
3.00 | 1 ratings
Abandoned Love
2010
3.67 | 3 ratings
Constant Pageant
2011
4.50 | 2 ratings
The Sovereign Self
2015

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TREMBLING BELLS Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Abandoned Love by TREMBLING BELLS album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Abandoned Love
Trembling Bells Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
3 stars Early 2010 saw the release of Trembling Bells' second album Abandoned Love on the same label, but this time, the guest were clearly defined and including a strong string section. Again released on the Honest John label, this mini-Lp gatefold release feature a medieval scene, courtesy of the lead-singing Lavinia Blackwell. To top it all of, the album receives the endorsement of THE folk rock authority, Joe Boyd, who brought so many groups into ther fold back in the glorious days. A bit too bad that this second album doesn't have the same kind of illustrated booklet with song lyrics, but it's nothing scandalous either.

Opening on an improbable mix of baroque folk and near-country (the harmonica), Adieu England announces the colour of the rest to come, even if Garden Born features Lavinia's crystal clear vocals over a solemn almost Spanish-sounding horn section. After the familiar- sounding Lay Your Burdens Down, the crumhorn-laden Did You Sing Together and the almost renaissance-horns of Month Of Death, the album had veered quite pure-folk, until the semi- country/folkish-rock of Outlaw Of My Heart and the familiar-sounding Ravenna (again with those over-slick horns) and the album glides smoothly into a downwards slope until the horrible and aptly-titled full-blown country-rock (Yyuuckk!!!!)You Are On The Bottom. What a pitiful way to end an album.

It's too bad that such a well-started album finishes so tastelessly. Certainly not escaping the usual traps and clichés, you could almost call TB a "retro prog folk" band if it wasn't for a few "faute de gout" and personally I prefer their debut.

 Carbeth by TREMBLING BELLS album cover Studio Album, 2009
3.00 | 1 ratings

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Carbeth
Trembling Bells Prog Folk

Review by Sean Trane
Special Collaborator Prog Folk

— First review of this album —
3 stars The group's debut album comes in an impressive mini-Lp gatefold sleeve and has a no- less impressive booklet with the song's lyrics each getting their psychic and mystic illustration. Normally a female-singer fronted quartet, TB featured twice as many musicians on their self-titled debut album, which was released in 2009 on the small Honest Johns label in a beautiful mini-Lp sleeve featuring a winter painted landscape. The group's basic quartet line-up sees quite a few reinforcements in terms of instruments, including a violin, a trombone and a lapsteel guitar. The album has a very pastoral and bucolic feel and often remained close to the very traditional clichés of UK folk music, including a crystal-clear female voice that's much reminiscent of Denny, McShee, Gaskin, Dyble and many more, but the male vocals are sharing the spotlight as well, giving that typical duet vocal sound that typifies the genre.

Opening on a Harmnium-like drone, Velvet Seasons announces right away the colours, including a very-present trombone over a slow-organ. Some Lapsteel guitar enters in I Took To You, helping the mood to rise up to folk-rock with plenty of details to rejoice anyone keen on listening to their haunting melodies, which only increase with the familiar When I Was Young (maybe the album's highlight) and that spellbinding organ. And a definitive psychedelic feel as well. Indeed The End's In Beginning shows a 60's psych spirit , without sounding too awkward, but it's rather messy next to the other tracks and especially the following lazy and bucolic Summer's Waning . The title track and its follow-up Your Head are both drenched in trombone and guitar strums, but not particularly mesmerizing, but allow the album to complete its year-round cycle concept. Garlands Of Stars feature some loud screeching guitar over semi-plaintive vocals, while the closing Seven Years A Teardrop

Throughout the album, there is a definite religious feel, but fear not, it's rather easily ignored, and you shouldn't find yourself in a devil worshipping sect, despite one ofr two more pagan illustrations. Nothing that will revolutionize the prog folk realm, especially in regards to the Wyrd Folk movement, but if interested, the progheads won't be looking too much for the usual "prog clichés" in TB's music, but rather in the subtle arrangements, even if they don't avoid the clichés. Your call on this one.

Thanks to sean trane for the artist addition.

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