Release Date: Jun 14, 2011
Record label: Smoke Fairies
Genre(s): Folk, Folk-Rock, Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Alternative Pop/Rock, British Folk-Rock
Lost amidst the dull roar of the recent spate of English folk revivalists (Laura Marling, Mumford & Sons, Johnny Flynn), The Smoke Fairies V2 debut feels much more connected to the genre’s halcyon days than any of the offerings from the group’s contemporaries. Led by West Sussex vocalists, guitarists and schoolmates Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire, the Smoke Fairies' heady blend of moor-bound, folk-rock, and languid, bayou-kissed blues stems from a steady diet of Fairport Convention, Pentangle, and Steeleye Span, along with the pair’s post-University musical journey through the American south. An extended pilgrimage to New Orleans allowed the longtime friends to hone the 11 songs that make up Through Low Light and Trees into something truly magical, and while the album is clearly the product of the green fields and misty mountains of their homeland, it’s obvious that the time spent in the Big Easy had a profound effect on them.
Critics often compare new and exciting musical performers to old ones as a type of shorthand that conveys the sound of the new act without resorting to pure verbal description, which often comes off as clunky and imprecise. So far, pundits have likened the Smoke Fairies to Fairport Convention, because of the similarities in the distaff folk rock musings of Sandy Denny on cuts such as “Storm Song” and “Summer Fades”. Writers also have equated the Fairies with Grace Slick and Jefferson Airplane when the Fairies veer into blues rock waters on such tracks as “Strange Moon Rising” and “Devil in My Mind”.
It’s often better to do your homework on a band after you listen to their record. Case in point: [a]Smoke Fairies[/a]. They are, it turns out, two women from Chichester, but such an upbringing sounds far less romantic than the biography we’d concocted for them in our mind. Here, the pair are more spirit than flesh; they haunt mid-Western prairies at night, appearing from the ether to strum guitars at bewildered passers-by, who stand transfixed as their otherworldly harmonies emanate from high above.
Dreamy, timeless music from the blues-tinged ethereal folk duo. David Sheppard 2010 With a name like that it would ill behove the Sussex duo of Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies (who are Smoke Fairies) to deal in anything but ethereal, folk-tinged melancholy and wistful, wonderstruck song craft. Right enough, that’s pretty much exactly what they deliver on this, their debut proper – the follow up to Ghosts, a singles and obscurities round up released to some acclaim last spring.