Thursday, December 02, 2010

Sweeping The Nation Albums Of 2010: Number 43

Compared to those trading in English alt-folk around them, Smoke Fairies both cleave to the more traditional and sound completely outside the sphere. Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire work better the less instrumentation surrounds them, where their spectrally ethereal, vaguely rustic harmonies and mostly unshowy but technically very fine fingerpicked interlocking guitars can affect and soar for the better. Flecked with bluesy emotional howl and the open dustbowl of pure Americana, there's something circularly hypnotic about the shivering autumnal longing and mercurial air of the open coastal spaces suggested by the openness of the sound and carefully crafted duo interplay. When they introduce something else - piano, slide guitar - it keeps the spiritual aura intact whilst ridding the album of any air of modern folk predictability. It's a ghostly album, not in the sense of spirits that are barely there but of foggy nightfall and plaintive appeals to the ether. Better still, it's placed well out of its time despite its surroundings.


Summer Fades (live)

The full list

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