Smoke Fairies are back with a brand new album and this being Darkness Brings The Wonders Home. This formidable LP dropped on 31st January 2020 via Year Seven Records, this exceptional effort comprised of 10 tunes which oozed plenty of folk rock goodness.
Now the two behind the name are Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire, now I have nothing but praise for Smoke Fairies. There an impressive duo with a wealth of outstanding originals under the belt. Now Smoke Fairies have been around for a good 13 years, back in 2007 they released debut CD Strange The Things and the years which followed have seen the unveiling of further 4 full lengths. In fact I first hooked on to Smoke Fairies in September 2009, here they unveiled Gastown/ River Song making them the first UK act to release a single on Jack White’s label Third Man Records. A year later they unleashed label debut Through Low Lights And Trees, from this moment I knew these two had something extremely special. It’s been 6 years since they unveiled festive LP Wild Winter and it’s a real pleasure to have them back with brand new material.
Darkness Brings The Wonders Home is the Smoke Fairies 5th album (6th if you include the Live At St Pancras record) and it’s yet another thrilling installment. Well I’ve listened to this impeccable record a number of times and I cannot praise it enough. Here you have 10 perfectly penned tunes which left me thoroughly captivated until the very end. This album was recorded with producer Phil Ek (The Black Angels, Fleet Foxes, The Shins) over the course of a rigorous month-long session in Seattle, drawing inspiration from mysteries both real and imagined: sea monsters, flocks of crows taking flight in extravagant formation, and strange creatures dwelling in the mud near their new South London abode.
So far 3 tracks have received the single treatment, the first of which being Out Of The Woods which received a 7″ picture disc pressing. Only 300 copies of this Rough Trade exclusive were made. Anyhow this tune was an edgy slice of folk rock which mesmerised me on the very first listen. That upbeat melody packed a punch, those vocals/ harmonies were a breath of fresh air whilst those lyrics were a tad eerie as they referenced a creature living in the woods. Resonating plenty of gothic vibes this was a well written number which resulted in something mesmeric. Disconnect was on the flip side and it’s a chilled out slice of sheer bliss. Aside from the impressive guitar thrashing, this compelling cut had lyrics centred around the theme of disconnection “Lost in your own world/ You’re looking for no one/ What the hell’s wrong with you?/ Teach me to disconnect/ I want to do it too”. If I was to sum up this track in one word it would have to be enchanting. Chew Your Bones is the most recent single from the duo, this was slow in pace and at the same time there was a darkness brewing. Everything about this number was spot on, Jessica and Katherine’s vocal tones blended together perfectly whilst I found the lyrical content to be incredibly beautiful. Here is what Katherine Blamire had to say “I needed to write about the growing feeling that the world is on the verge of real change, there is the sense that there is this scary, unknown future lurking just beyond us. We’d just adopted a cat and were told to keep him inside because the Croydon Cat Killer had just struck in the area. This sanctioned belief of a mythical killer lurking the streets was terrifying and intriguing. At the same time I was reading Sarah Perry’s gothic, Victorian novel ‘The Essex Serpent’ about a fabled beast that stalks the Essex backwaters. Both these tales came together to help me finish the song”.
Darkness Brings The Wonders Home opened up with One The Wing and this being a stunning piece of folk rock. That marvellous melody was whimsical, those lyrics were infectious whilst Davies and Blamire’s ethereal vocal delivery infused together perfectly. Elevator packed a fierce punch, that guitar heavy melody resulted in something rather edgy whilst those lyrics were extremely enthralling. Actually this compelling content focused on the fear of an Elevator, specifically getting trapped and having to make awkward conversation with the others who are trapped with you “I got stuck between floors/ Caught in automatic doors/ I got stuck between floors/ Between my mind and yours”. Now Coffee Shop Blues was super sleek, I literally adored this enchanting number. The lyrics were pure perfection and at the same time there were dashes of sadness as they reflected on their time in New Orleans. Katherine and Jessica’s tantalising tones were reminiscent to Smoke Fairies pre Through Low Lights And Trees. Left To Roll was a soothing tune aided by beautiful heart warming lyrics and a refreshing vocal delivery “Can you say you love me/ Til the end of time”. Track 7 came in the form of Chocolate Rabbit and this delightful cut has to be one of my favourites. Now this was an addictive slice of sheer bliss, the melody was mesmeric whist those lyrics were quirky and sassy at the same time “You’re like a Chocolate Rabbit/ You’re hollow inside/ You leave me unsatisfied/ Sugar round my mouth”. This tune had me picturing a failing relationship and you know the other half is not the one. However you have a weakness for this person which makes it difficult to remove yourself from that situation. Don’t You Want To Spiral Out Of Control? was a pacey gem which I fell for hook line and sinker. Everything about this number was on point, Davies and Blamire’s were a breath of fresh air whilst the lyrical content focused on a failed relationship. Things were wrapped up with Super Tremolo. This being an intense anthem esque jam aided by punchy lyrics.
Darkness Brings The Wonders Home is available from iTunes or any good music retailer/ Independent Record Store
UK TOUR DATES
3rd Feb – Norwich, Arts Centre
5th Feb – Oxford, Bullingdon
6th Feb – London, Hoxton Hall
7th Feb – Birmingham, Sunflower Lounge
8th Feb – Bristol, Rough Trade
9th Feb – Portsmouth, Square Tower