There’s something otherworldly about Smoke Fairies. Their name, taken from the Summer mist that collects in the hedgerows of the lanes in the duo’s, school friends Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies, home county of Sussex. But it’s their ghostly goth-folk, coupled with a healthy dose of Americana, and looked over by the shadow of 4AD and longtime supporter Jack White that really gives you a sense of it.
Following on from their (brilliant) debut album Through Low Light and Trees, the pair have decided to release Ghosts, a double cd of their early material, including their limited long gone singles and ep’s, and, making up the second cd a collection of early studio sessions from 2007-08.
What does stand out is the remarkable quality of both the songwriting and the pairs voices, right from the beginning, which marked them out as something special. From album opener ‘Sunshine’, all have this sense of bare open space, of life meandering along before the darkness, principally provided by the rich voices of the pair, give things a darker quality. The stark guitar work for example of the girls debut single Living With Ghosts could have been any Memphis back porch, the girls brooding vocal giving the whole thing a stark loneliness.
But there is hope in some of these tracks as well. Even in tracks like the fantastic Frozen Heart, there is always this sense of hope about it. None more so than in the stand out track, and more English folk sounding ‘We had lost our minds’, which encapsulates the groups struggle with the dark and the light.
But it’s a struggle that is, frankly, one of the most intoxicating things of recent times to listen to.