Smoke Fairies at Rough Trade East
British blues-folk duo Smoke Fairies have notable and famous fans: among others, Brian Ferry, Jack White and Richard Hawley. This is probably down to their charming bluesy folk, which is still juvenile and naïve, but with several elements that confirm our high hopes.
Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies have travelled all over the world, from England to New Orleans, in order to understand the roots of the blues, and to learn how to match it with British folk. The result is the Smoke Fairies project, under which they have just released a fourth self-titled record. Trained by a powerful single like Eclipse Them All, a spacey soundtrack à la Air with some smokey delta blues reflections, the record showcases several aspects of the band: the naïvety and the coolness, and songs like Let Me Know, Blood Speaks, Summer Fades and the killer Hotel Room.
On stage the girls are matched by three expert musicians – drummer, fiddler/synth and bass players – while they play their guitars for about 30 minutes. The songs of the record of course onstage become more rocky and aggressive, emphasising the guitars and the rhythm sections, showing how the band are familiar with their instruments. The sound of the performance touches many genre, the boundary between blues, pop and psych but with a twist of folk that makes everything more British than American.
Curiously, the audience at the venue were older than what we think of as the average age, probably due to the reference of this duo from Sussex, who are more sophisticated – think PJ Harvey and Creedence Clearwater Revival – than others. The formula is winning: let’s see where these girls will end up with the next record.
Photo: Lorenzo Cibrario
For further information and future events visit Smoke Fairies’ website here.
Watch the video for Eclipse Them All here: