Trembling Bells (4 stars)

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Trembling Bells

Alex Woodward

FOLK

‘Does that sound okay?’ says Alex Neilson near the beginning of the show. His eyes are beseeching the crowd to cough up a sound engineer with a firmly-stated opinion either way. No such luck, though; the audience are doing that awkward passive thing where they just want to be entertained without exchange of chit-chat or pleasantry, thank you very much. For drummer Neilson, once of disorientating jazz-folksters Scatter and here with members of Lucky Luke, this only adds to the tension.

Not that there’s any need for that. The crowd seem largely enthralled by the wonderful noise the quartet are making, or at least they should be. Endowed with a delicate, reedy shuffle, Trembling Bells are a perfectly-formed experience, a soothing exponent of futurist folk that’s part Fairport Convention (singer Lavinia Blackwall is a vocal ringer for Sandy Denny), part ghost story told in a draughty byre at night. Their songs are wide-eyed and romantic (‘Gallons of Stars’) or crisp and biting (‘I Took to You Like Christ to Wood’); their drummer, not required to look so worried.

The Bowery, Edinburgh, Fri 20 Feb

www.myspace.com/tremblingbells

Vetiver

  • 4 stars

Beguiling, fragrant folk sounds from Vetiver, whose line-up sometimes includes Devendra Banhart.

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