Smoke Fairies: Blood Speaks (V2)
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A new album from “Sussex via America” blues and folk duo Smoke Fairies is always a cause for celebration. So how does their sophomore release stack up? Dave Jennings reveals all.

Following on from their acclaimed 2010 debut, ”ËœThrough Low Light and Trees’, Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire are back with a mesmerising statement of a new found confidence. Two years of intense touring around Britain, Europe and even driving themselves 3000 miles across the US have widened their influences and led to an increased desire to push boundaries according to Katherine. Although they grew up together in Chichester and the album was recorded in remote Cornwall, the influence of the city and of travelling is heard throughout in an essential combination of guitar and ethereal harmonies.

From the infectious, hazy intro of ”ËœLet Me Know’, the album takes the listener on a trance like meander through the fragile beauty of ”ËœAwake’ to the robust chords of ”ËœThe Three of Us’ (watch below), written about a road trip across the US they both took with a friend years back.

Their folk influences are dreamily hinted at in ”ËœDaylight’, while the outstanding ”ËœBlood Speaks’ sees soaring vocals evoke liberation of the mind. Jessica: “It’s about the sense you get from stopping, thinking and just focusing on your surroundings. To listen to what your blood is telling you, to experience life and to celebrate the freedom of being able to move around.”

”ËœFeel it Coming Near’ has a power and elements of an unspoken menace behind the rising harmonies and a guitar that lends both power and tranquillity. The gentle ”ËœHideaway’ sits in contrast to the more unsettling ”ËœVersion of the Future’ whilst the album ends on a defiant and challenging note with ”ËœFilm Reel’. The album flows like a stream through a forest in spring with subtle changes of pace into darker and then lighter areas. It’s destined for success.

Smoke Fairies certainly set their standards high with their first album and have avoided haste in their follow up. The time has clearly been well spent as ‘Blood Speaks’ both consolidates and moves ahead in a range of directions. A string of British dates have been announced for the autumn and I would advise securing tickets early.

All words Dave Jennings. More articles by Dave can be read here.

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