Album Review: Smoking in Heaven by Kitty, Daisy & Lewis
Fairly Good, Based on 8 Critics
Paste Magazine - 84 Based on rating 8.4/10
If burlesque-rockabilly-beach pop wasn’t already a genre, multi-instrumentalist siblings Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’ new album will definitely push to make it one. On their third official album the Durham siblings from Northwest London infuse a variety of sounds that lean retro, but also push the boundaries of today’s music. Smoking in Heaven’s opening track “Tomorrow” has a Hawaiian undertone, but sounds like something out of an Elvis Presley beach film.
The Durham siblings are digital-age refuseniks so committed to rockabilly, jump-blues and ska that they record on vintage equipment in a London home studio modelled on the one at Sun Records. This would be less comment-worthy if their oldest member weren't just 20, making them too young even to remember Britpop. This is their second album, and the first that's completely self-written (though on a couple of tracks they've been helped by their parents, who are also in the band).
New Musical Express (NME) - 70 Based on rating 3.5/5
What’s shocking about the Durham siblings’ band isn’t that their youngest member is still a teenager, but the fact that they’re still on only their second album. Festival stalwarts and vintage sonics trailblazers, their no-fuss rhythm and blues has little truck with reinventing the wheel and fizzes with the simple joy of creation. The soft swagger of [b]‘Don’t Make A Fool Out Of Me’[/b] sets a modest melody against an undeniable groove, and [b]‘You’ll Soon Be Here’[/b] radiates with the warmth of a junk store 78.
After their charming eponymous 2009 debut, the young Durham siblings' sophomore album is another stylized exercise in nostalgia, an eclectic mix of rockabilly, blues, swing, jazz, and ska, all tinkling pianos, wiry guitars, and enthusiastic vocals. This time around, however, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis are largely performing their own material rather than covers, although fundamentally the song remains the same: faithful, vintage re-creations of a sound and an era long gone. .
Teenagers Kitty Daisy & Lewis are a sibling band that could have easily been thrown back into the Tesco bargain bins of fixed era cover albums. With their large quiffs and Fifties rock‘n’roll swing sound, theirs is a style that reeked of novelty. But surprisingly enough, the Durhams - as they’re known in a familial sense - gained positive attention for their self-titled debut, recorded when they were young teenagers.
This sounds like it was recorded in a pub, something this trio of rockabilly-nostalgist siblings would no doubt take as a compliment. In fact, their second album was tracked in a garage, with a home-built studio of analogue equipment to honour their 50s sound. Full marks for devotion to "authenticity", but, sadly, authentic doesn't necessarily mean interesting.
Lewis Durham of the young trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, has created a time machine in the front room of the band’s North London home. It’s not of the H.G. Wells variety, but rather, a carefully cultivated collection of studio equipment from America’s lost history of recording, consisting of tape machines and vintage ribbon mics from more than six decades ago.
An addictive third set from the authentic-not-authentic scratchy RnB trio. Noel Gardner 2011 There is a great deal about Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, a trio of two sisters and a brother from Kentish Town, London, which is perfectly pitched to irk the purists. Specifically, purists in the field of pre-rock’n’roll American music, which is mined over the (slightly indulgent) hour of Smoking in Heaven, their third album.