Glasgow-based psych-folk phenomenon Trembling Bells – much beloved of Paul Weller, Joe Boyd and others – unveil the title track of their new 7-track mini album exclusively with MOJO. Wide Majestic Aire is a mellifluous relative of Shane MacGowan’s Broad Majestic Shannon, and features the meltwater vocals of Lavinia Blackwell.
Here’s Trembling Bells’ Alex Neilson to shed some light on the song:
“Having grown up on a council estate in Leeds, the river Aire became a creative sanctuary for me. It snaked about a mile away from my house and played host to innumerable dog walks where I smoked furtive cigarettes and imbibed Captain Beefheart, Velvet Underground and Incredible String Band on my bible-sized Walkman. That joy of first discovering these technicoloured worlds is something I tried to bottle in this song. I also wanted to convey a sense of the place itself and the quasi-mythic proportions it occupies in my mind.”
UK waterway nerds will note that the river in the video is not the Aire...
“We wanted it to have a nostalgic and free-floating feel.”
Alex Neilsen, Trembling Bells
“We filmed the video in Carbeth,” says Neilson, “a hutting community just north of Glasgow – a place that also has a lot of personal resonance for me. We wanted it to have a nostalgic and free-floating feel, which has been beautifully captured by Gregor Marks' Super 8 footage and Tom Chick's exquisite editing.
“A couple of personal highlights of the day include drinking Glengoyne whiskey (which the distillery kindly donated to us for the filming) and also getting my mum Susan in the video with her pet squirrel, Harvey.”
Trembling Bells have released five albums since 2008, the most recent being last year’s acclaimed The Sovereign Self. In that time they have collaborated with The Incredible String Band, Kaleidoscope and Bonnie "Prince" Billy, with whom the band recorded the 2012 album The Marble Downs.
2016 promises a live album of their shows with Oldham, a single for Record Store Day, a Neilson solo album, an album of traditional songs with comedian-head Stewart Lee, and a spot on the latter’s ATP bill in Prestatyn in April where they will perform No Roses, the 1971 album by Shirley Collins and the Albion Country Band.