I found the Smoke Fairies first album Ghosts, while doing a search on iTunes. It turned into one of my first big finds of 2011. I completed that first review for Ghosts earlier this year. Now I would like to discuss their latest album, Through Low Light and Trees, which was released in September of 2010.
The two ladies, Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies that make up the Smoke Fairies have beautiful folksy, but definitely English voices that capture a new sound which blends folk – driven music with blues – themed guitar chords. Imagine a female version of the Fleet Foxes or Midlake, two of their favorite bands, and you will get a better idea of their sound.
The ladies were first discovered and brought to the 'big stage' with their introduction to Jack White of The White Stripes, who was playing locally in their town. He helped them with an opportunity to record some songs in Nashville. Kaf, (as Katherine prefers to be called), and Jess, (Jessica), were later surprised by Jack and his band who joined with them by playing during one of their late night recording sessions in Nashville.
This is a very good, consistent follow up to Ghosts and shows these ladies understand the importance of great vocals and acoustic music. Perfect for times of reflection or relaxing.
"Summer Fades" opens with beautiful violin, guitar and the ladies singing in harmony. "Can we start something new?" The soft guitar solos blanketed with the sounds of the viola and soft drums warm the cold surroundings of summer leaving. A wonderful start that captures your attention immediately, just like a good opener should.Guitars and drums open "Devil in My Mind" to a soft rockin' beat before the ladies harmonize with their voices set to that fantastic viola sound. Neil Walsh's viola playing is excellent both on this track and throughout the album.
"Hotel Room" is the best track on the album. The ladies made a video for this track, which is available on You Tube. That video and this song capture the power and fun of this track perfectly. Despite the sadder lyrics and melodies which you might find on other tracks on their albums, this track has a more upbeat rhythm and melody.
"Dragon" opens with Katherine's piano and both ladies harmonizing again. Jerry Blamire's recorder adds the perfect dynamic to the mix.
Great bass opening with Katherine and Jessica singing about the story of "Erie Lackawanna". A sad song filled with all the changes of moving, growing and the ravages of our changing times.
"Strange Moon Rising" is the second best track on the album. This one is a great bluesy guitar number that just takes hold of you with its rhythm from the start. The bass and drums keep perfect step with the feeling coming from the lyrics and vocals.
Excellent acoustic guitar opens "Morning Blues", along with Katherine leading and then Jessica joining in on vocals. A perfect song of acoustic guitar and beautiful female harmony vocals.
"Storm Song" is another of their best songs. The story is very powerful as reflected in the lyrics.
"Blue Skies Fall" opens with great electric guitar and the ladies sharing vocals in perfect harmony.
A very cool electric guitar riff opens "Feeling is Turning Blue". The ladies tell a soft, sad story of feeling alone. The guitar solo in the middle is excellent.
"After the Rain" is another sad song about desperation and wanting to change the way things are going.
- Summer Fades
- Devil in My Mind
- Hotel Room
- Erie Lackawanna
- Strange Moon Rising
- Morning Blues
- Storm Song
- Blue Skies Fall
- After the Rain