Release Date: Nov 20, 2015
Record label: Full Time Hobby
Genre(s): Pop/Rock, Alternative/Indie Rock, Indie Folk, British Folk-Rock
Modern Christmas customs revolve around more than just wry tweets about the John Lewis ad. According to Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies, it’s a time to dismiss Yuletide frivolities; a time to lament the year gone by, with faces pressed against steamy windows and lips stained with mulled wine; a time to be ejected from the church service for being drunk. While there is sweetness (Bad Good defends the existence of Father Christmas) and strangeness (a cover of Captain Beefheart’s Steal Softly Thru Snow), Smoke Fairies resist the chintz of traditional festive sonics, instead using spectral guitars and sprawling desert-rock soundscapes.
Smoke Fairies are a duo blessedly incapable of sounding like anything but themselves, even as they began mixing up the proportions of their folk meets blues times indie rock formula on their self-titled 2014 release, and it's at once curious and fitting that they've made a holiday album that doesn't sound or feel much like any sort of holiday album. Wild Winter certainly deals with seasonal themes, such as the bystander's view of the Christ child in "Give and Receive," the snowbound tales of "Steal Softly Thru Snow" and the title cut, the journey home in "Circles in the Snow," and the blue December mood of "Christmas Without a Kiss," but there's little audible twinkle or good cheer on this album. (The fact it features all original material and no traditional holiday numbers doesn't help in this respect.