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Smoke Fairies: Blood Speaks

I was fortunate enough to review Through Low Light and Trees and conduct a full interview with the Smoke Fairies with the release of their album in 2011. Well, it got even better. I met them at our favorite local record store for a live acoustic show and then saw them live at one of Portland's best local concert venues, The Douglas Fir Lounge. So during that year I became a full-fledged fan of the band. Now, the Smoke Fairies have released their new album Blood Speaks, and you just knew I had to be part of the fun all over again.

Blood Speaks signals a new, heavier sound to the band's mix of folksy/blues acoustic interpretations. Although they open the disc with some similar vibes to their past albums; to slowly re-acquaint you; they will rock you later on the album.

On "Let Me know", they fill the air full of great original lead and solid bass guitar. The vocals are louder and prouder and the drum support is perfect. A good radio single that will help introduce their ever evolving sound.

Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire share vocal harmonies on "Awake" and all the tracks on the album. The opening of "Awake" begins with a quiet acoustic guitar intro, similar to what you may remember from Simon and Garfunkel's "Scarborough Fair" or even "Sounds of Silence". It is the perfect music to wake up to in the morning. Blamire's organ on this track is a nice addition to the sound.

"The Three of Us" is full on power, set for departure from their past sound with guitars playing hard at the opening. Strong deep bass-like guitar chords ring like a bell across the soundscape as the drums deliver solid rhythm and the beat slowly drives on. Thought provoking lyrics like, "We can easily divide. I was thinking about my life stretching somewhere. Do you think it ends in light overload? And I know that I have shared something rare. Could this be where we part?" help make this album another high watermark for the band. The lyrics match the power of the music being played.

"Daylight" is a return to the wonderful piano openings you will remember from their past albums. There are several excellent short guitar solos on this track that will help it stand out from the others. The lyrics reflect the miles they have driven. Quite possibly written during their last tour in the USA, while crossing this large country. "I saw your eyes glancing back in the mirror. Bright lights streaming faster. At night in the motel I dream of the car. Crashing through the wild pastures. Is there much further now? Are you losing the meaning? Is this the year when we lose our direction? Is time flying past us?"

The title track, "Blood Speaks" is a lead vocals driven track full of soft vocal support, light drums, keys, and light electric guitar. The lyrics help define this powerful album well, "I wander this city with nowhere to be. Not looking to leave consequences. But something is going to happen sooner or later. The sky, it hangs low over our heads. Oh blood is speaking and mind is sleeping".

"Take Me Down When You Go" is full of solid lead guitar and bass as the lyrics roll forth from soft cool voices, "Something dies when you fall in love. Something lives when you've had enough of driving over the ice. I can feel the warmth you could bring. Like the burn of the wind to my skin. I can feel the pain of your ice cold sting".

"Feel It Coming Near" is another song full of deep moody and reflective lyrics, "I feel it in my blood. Saturn's coming near. Like the night of my birth. Like the twenty- eighth year circles that turn". "When the water in my body wants to rise up with the moon. Seeks to greet the drying shoreline. Depart from me too soon. Soon you will flow. You will pour, drip away from me". Smashing and crashing guitar and drums, like waves of ocean surf.

"Hideaway" is another great track full of powerful lyrics, "But I've grown a passion that's far less forgiving. And I don't count you as a reason for living. I could go my own way. On a day like this I fight through the city I live in. Hope that there's something left to give to you", set to wonderful soft keys and chords.

"Version of the Future" is another powerful reflective track full of slow guitar and warm, but worried vocals, "There's a version of the future hanging close above my head. But I can't get to it. Search around the room to build the pieces of a life. But I can't make them fit. In the dark I feel alone. 'Till the sun comes up. It's polite to go home. If I back out of this too soon will I be left holding torches for you?"

"Film Reel" is a deep look at the past and love's lost. The lyrics are some of the best, on an album full of deep reflection. "I saw the year pass like a film reel. Like quivering frames through the shutter wheel. Golden like that summer time. Projecting light through my twilight mind. The road on the edge of the coastline. Sun flaring in through the mountain pines. I was clinging on behind. The growl of an engine in overdrive". The guitar and vocal echoes add so much Simon & Garfunkel memory like after effects.

The Smoke Fairies never made it over to North America last year and they say they have "missed its pancake breakfasts, long roads and good people". So, they are planning to return with the release of Blood Speaks. I hope to see them again live on stage. Until then, I'll continue to listen to this album as an early morning riser.

Track Listing:

1. Let Me Know
2. Awake
3. The Three of Us
4. Daylight
5. Blood Speaks
6. Take Me Down When You Go
7. Feel it Coming Near
8. Hideaway
9. Version of the Future
10. Film Reel (bonus)

Added: July 31st 2013
Reviewer: Mark Johnson
Related Link:
Hits: 1678
Language: english

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