Smoke Fairies – even the name itself conjures up something mystical. It actually alludes to the summer mist collecting in English countryside hedgerows. Best friends at school, Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies grew up in Sussex in the UK, and you can see how this influence reaches out through their music. Blood Speaks is a rich mixture of folk, blues and eerie lyrics.
They have actually been around since 2009, and through a tough but creatively fruitful year in Canada, and working with PJ Harvey producer Head they caught the attention of Jack White. Yes, that Jack White, who seemed at one point to be the only person interested in their music. He offered to produce a track for them. Gastown/River Song was recorded in 36 hours with Jack White on drums, and was released in December 2009. From there, they have gone from strength to strength. They were 'the band to see' at this years SXSW and have supported Laura Marling. There is no doubt, they have places to go.
The Crosby Stills and Nash influence is very evident on their second album Blood Speaks mostly on the vocal harmonies that permeate the album. This is not a negative, but it does make me wonder where they can evolve from here. Oddly enough, the first single off the album 'The Three of Us' is a slightly aggressive affair, and the vocals rub along with the very strong slide guitar in a rather uncomfortable way, that could of course just be me, but out of the whole album this is my least favorite. From there it does improve. The title track is a mesmerizing beat of a song, not unlike Laura Marling's 'Devil’s Spoke', and it builds into a crescendo just at the right moments.
'Let Me Know', the first song on the album, is a wonderful introduction to the album, transporting you into dust filled roads and dessert hideaways. Film Reel is another beauty of a song, with more uplifting melodies and sweet rhythms. There does always seem to be a sense of melancholy throughout their music, and at times this can be slightly grating, however this is a much stronger album as a whole. They have definitely grown as musicians and as long as they can keep offering up something slightly different than their folk musician peers out there, they will continue to grow.