Ahead of their upcoming tour, and prior to the release of their long awaited album, Smoke Fairies played a great warm-up gig at Elsewhere in Margate. On a dreary, very wet and cold Sunday night motivation to go outside was not exactly running high but I reminded myself that the last time I saw Smoke Fairies (In the Folk Tent at Lounge On The Farm in 2011) I had not been disappointed. On that occasion I had stepped away from the main stage where The Streets were mid-performance and found Katherine and Jessica holding their audience transfixed.
Nearly nine years on, and with a new album 'Darkness Brings The Wonders Home', due for release at the end of month, the Chichester duo were no less engaging as they performed a twelve track set of songs made up of both new and older material. Before Blamire and Davies took to the stage however there was a support slot from Charlie Hannah.
Charlie gave a solo performance without his backing band The Haus Plants; "They didn't want them" he said. In his colour co-ordinated outfit of a green and orange sleeveless cardi, green shirt with matching orange flecks, orange jeans and green trainers, he sat at the keyboard and championed his own unique brand/genre of 'Domestica'. Singing songs about washing machines, reversing entropy (otherwise known as tidying his room) and stewing, I'm still not quite sure how seriously he wanted to be taken. With three albums of songs to his name, as well as his work with Itchy Teeth and Starfish Men, and a new album due out later this year, he had no shortage of material. He sang 'I Can Never Go Back', a song about his childhood "in the style of Edith Piaf"; 'Lower The Bar', a song about achieving a happier life by lowering your expectations; and finished on a song inspired by the late Dr John, 'Signor Olivio's'. He explained that he was currently the only artist to identify himself as a 'Domestica' artist and after witnessing his somewhat bemusing performance I can see why.
Continue reading: Smoke Fairies - Elsewhere, Margate 26.01.2020 Live Review
Smoke Fairies new album 'Blood Speaks' is the result of a 'more confident', 'bolder' band 'pushing (their) boundaries' and incorporating 'broader influences'. Having caught the ear of such respected and influential musicians as Richard Hawley and Jack White (the latter having recorded, released and gigged with the duo), Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies may have found themselves in a position of implied pressure to follow up their very favourably received debut album, 'Through Low Light And Trees'. Upping sticks from the tranquillity and peace of Sussex and eschewing their previous Cornwall haunt in favour of the suburban chaos of London's Ladbrook Grove to record their new album has undoubtedly helped the pair toughen up both musically and individually. In Katherine's own words, she says, 'We've made peace with the city' whereas previously she felt like she was trapped by it. The result is an album, Smoke Fairies, say, which is, in the most part, 'Inspired by London and travelling.'
Continue reading: Smoke Fairies, Blood Speaks Album Review
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