Smoke Fairies’ new album, Carried In Sound, sings with a narcotic lure of velvet history and wine-sipped conversation. There’s a mythical Siren song, a psych echo, a Medieval candle lit choral, an edgy solace, and a vital twist to ancient braided folk tunes lit in the always Home-Fired Anthems Of Eden, all the way from their native Chichester.
To the novitiate: Smoke Fairies are Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies. They make a magical folk music that flickers like a votive candle “through low light and trees”. This is their first album since Darkness Brings The Wonder Home. And Carried In Sound continues with dual-voiced acoustic and electric guitar elixir that avoids the pop world’s river surface flow; but rather, finds its melodies in the dark under currents where deep secretive urges battle dense gravity. Their music awaits the patient folk fisherman.
My friend, Kilda Defnut, says, “This music sings with a Macbeth’s melody of a ‘root of hemlock digg’d I’ the dark’”, and, perhaps, ‘slips of yew’ that are ‘Silvered in the moon’s eclipse’”.
Indeed, let’s just agree, and say this music has a “charm” that “is firm and good”.
The first song, ‘Vague Ideas’, is a dark hymn, with spiked guitar and a spectral vocal. And there’s a stained glass haloed chorus. The tune’s a soundtrack to any much belated wooden-benched confession.
Then, ‘Vanishing Line’ stills the stigmata and floats with heavenly harmonies. Once again, the vocals sing with sublime thoughts. Perhaps, the Medieval Babes also touched this sacred nerve.
Ahh – the title tune, ‘Carried In Sound’, prods even further with a pulsed throb in the depth of any deep river’s melody. This song is thick that velvet wine conversation. Two ideas: There’s a definite Kate Bush aura. That’s a huge compliment. And, oddly enough, these Smoke Fairies conjure a Southern blues seasoning that’s tossed that into their musical cauldron. To be fair, don’t expect the slide guitar of Mississippi Fred McDowell and another retread of ‘Baby Please Don’t Go’, but any Smoke Fairie, while taking one of those popular genealogy tests, would probably find a Hoodoo or two in a long list of spooky musical descendants.
The instrumentation, as with all Smoke Fairies albums, is kept to a tough minimum. ‘There Was A Hope’ is piano graced with a tender vocal and huge sainted harmonies. And ‘Seek It With Me’ continues the simplicity with guitar and more glorious vocals that inhabit desirous love, yet are fraught with captive secrets. This song drips with patient “charm” that continues to be “firm and good”. As an add-on, an instrumental version of the tune is added to the end of the album.
Then, ‘Perseus’, too, plays a piano hand with emotive vocals. The same is true for the ephemeral ‘Part Of It All’, which has (of all things!) a dreamy slow-danced rock ‘n’ roll strolled under the evening stars wonder, when time, somehow, manages to stop for a moment. Then, ‘2022’ is dense with drama, as the song quietly explodes with a yearning plea for lost love forgiveness.
By the way (and it’s just an idea), but Smoke Fairies’ music aches with a labyrinth-searched ‘Grecian Urn Ode’ credo of “Beauty is truth”, and of course, “truth” is “beauty”.
That said, ‘Sticks And Stones’, in contrast (but equally nice!), is a strummed heartbeat, with a delicate electric guitar solo, percussion, and vocals that roam with a soulful dark terra firma thought of the human heart.
The final song, ‘Come To Mind’, simply places a soft exclamation point to an album filled with thoughtful melodies, celestial vocals, a Siren song here and there, Medieval candled cathedral shadows, with deep river thoughts to water a psych seed that ebbs into the edgy solace of age old Anthems still growing in the grooves of an “Eden” that is “Silvered” with the magical beauty amid the eternal melody in the mythical narcotic deep river lure that flows under the mood of any “moon’s eclipse’”.
Artist’s website; https://www.musicglue.com/smokefairies
‘Vanishing Line’ – official video: