Trembling Bells have announced that they will be releasing their new album Dungeness in March 2018. The album will be toured the following month including a Marc Riley session on BBC 6 Music. Watch the trailer by Tom Chick below:
After seeing the video I found it hard to shake off the questions in my head. Although this piece of Kent headland is home to a blot on the landscape in the form of a nuclear power station, it does have something of a strong uncanny attraction. I talk from experience as I know the area fairly well – especially Romney Marsh where I used to visit regularly for a number of years.
Romney Marsh is some 100 square miles of reclaimed marshland, as well as a large bird reserve and their own breed of hardy sheep, the area has some interesting folklore with plenty of stories about smugglers or ‘owlers’. Wander off the beaten track and you’ll soon become aware of a distinct air of mystery and isolation – something like discovering a small wilderness.
Despite the proximity to the power station, some very hip dwellings have sprung up on the headland in recent years alongside the more traditional wooden-clad cottages such as Prospect Cottage which was once the hideaway of film director Derek Jarman whose post-modern driftwood garden is very well-known.
I shot off an email to Alex as I began writing this piece and the answer I got back was pleasing – I was on the right wavelength:
The place left a big impression on me when I visited it for the first time in 2015.. The rest of my band hated it for the same reasons that I was thrilled by it. We drove for a long time along the East Sussex coast road to get there. All the while the landscape seemed to be getting more parched and flatter. The air heavier. It felt like if you looked out of the window of the right-hand side of the van then the land wouldn’t actually be there anymore. Just a Void. It was pretty terrifying and we all felt it at the same time. When we arrived at Dungeness it felt like the end of the earth. Like the power station was the physical manifestation of the apocalyptic reality of the place. The vegetation there is unique and beautiful. It felt like England dreaming of itself. And then there’s Derek Jarman’s hut….
In the meantime, get those tour dates in your diary.