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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Debut
If you have a penchant for haunting, beautiful, ethereal music, then the Smoke Fairies are made for you. I became aware of the duo last year through 'Living With Ghosts' and 'Frozen Heart', two tracks that have etched themselves indelibly on my memory with their cyclical guitar licks and fragile vocals . It was, therefore, with some anticipation that I awaited their debut...
Published on 27 Sept. 2010 by Doctor Pint

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4 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars disappointed
Saw the reviews and really expected something special and "new". I was really looking forward to hearing it. I don't know, perhaps they're better live but I've listened to this several times now and all I get is a cross between Clannad and Enya (artists I personally can't stand - all "Celtic lite" whimsy) with a few southern USA guitar riffs thrown in. I'd been...
Published on 9 July 2012 by S. Green


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18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Terrific Debut, 27 Sept. 2010
This review is from: Through Low Light And Trees (Audio CD)
If you have a penchant for haunting, beautiful, ethereal music, then the Smoke Fairies are made for you. I became aware of the duo last year through 'Living With Ghosts' and 'Frozen Heart', two tracks that have etched themselves indelibly on my memory with their cyclical guitar licks and fragile vocals . It was, therefore, with some anticipation that I awaited their debut CD and I'm pleased to say it does not disappoint. The album is filled with well-crafted songs and gorgeous harmonies that are guaranteed to maintain your interest. I did notice that their bluesy guitar sound has mellowed slightly and is not quite as prominent as on their earlier EP but it's a minor carp. I can't wait to go and see them live but until then I'll be more than content with this truly original and stunning album.
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32 of 34 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Smokin' Album, 12 Sept. 2010
By 
Leonardo27 (London United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Through Low Light And Trees (Audio CD)
Previous single and EP releases have earmarked Smoke Fairies as a band to keep an eye on, and here at long last is their debut long-player. It's been worth the wait.

The latest in a long line of contemporary artists pushing back the boundaries of traditional folk music, the Fairies conjure up a totally compelling mix of the musick of olde England with the swampy sounds of the Mississippi Delta. God knows how or why it works; but it does, and often spectacularly so.

The time they reportedly spent living and working in New Orleans is clearly evident, as is the influence of working with Jack White, never more so than on the stirring "Strange Moon Rising" which opens with a grungy blues motif that sounds like it's about to morph into a cover of the Raconteurs' "Carolina Drama". These girls can work an insistent riff through a song as effortlessly as if they'd lived their entire lives in the Deep South, "Devil In My Mind" and "Storm Song" being other strong examples.

When the blues inflexions are temporarily left aside, as on (paradoxically) "Morning Blues", the girls' insistently beautiful voices are given room to shine through, arguably the most striking two-part female harmonies since Kate and Anna McGarrigle.

Presumably with an eye on widening the fanbase and 'crossing over' to the mainstream, the major label production has smoothed off just a little of the Fairies' previous edginess. There's nothing here quite as dark, chilling or haunting as "Living With Ghosts" or "Frozen Heart", but no doubt about it this is still one very fine album.

An album for those long winter nights that lie ahead.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Must buy., 9 Sept. 2010
By 
A. J. Tuck (England) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Through Low Light And Trees (Audio CD)
Possibly my album of the year up to now. Both Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies are great musicians with wonderful voices. Their harmonies are a joy to listen to. The tracks are all original and range from trad type feel, through blues to 60s psychedelic folk.

This is a must buy.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars FROM SUNSHINE TO BLISS, 10 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Through Low Light And Trees (Audio CD)
Each release by Smoke Fairies is driven by a strong sense of time or place. Their first elusive album, `Strange The Things' played the opening, stirring bars in what has become a fascinating canon of work, characterised by a natural flair for following the right tune, or the inspiration of a place.
Those principles made that 2005 release an explosion of ideas, and in the intervening years the band have dodged any convenient or conventional development, releasing the equivalent of another two albums though various singles, downloads, EPs and demos. Singles such as `Living With Ghosts', Sunshine and `Gastown' have been signposts of the evolving live tradition of Smoke Fairies: warm, distinct and musically agile.
`Through Low Light and Trees' colours a new landscape. It is a proper album: honed and delivered in one setting, Cornwall, and seasoned by the weather, the light and the cycles of some unknown corner of that special place.
`Summer Fades' is a significant opener: understated, melodic and subtle in its invocation of the originalities of autumn. At the same time, the band emerges with an assured restraint: voice, guitars, viola, bass, drums, the last three instruments surging through a number of songs with a muscular pulse.
The next two songs, `Devil In My Mind' and `Hotel Room' - which swerve and swagger and mutter with late night insights - might be pigeonholed as `bluesy'. But they simply take the principles of what some would call `folkier' songs and let the musicianship swell. The band have spent years on the road playing their way out of any convenient category and `Through Low Light And Trees' proves this.
`Dragon' follows, an unexpected musical allegory: piano and voices playing a melody like a nursery rhyme, against a tale of devastation caused by a mythical beast, like some current disaster.
The band have made a number of vinyl releases and this album seems made for that medium, with the first five songs expansive in their range, and `side two' convincingly aligned with the recording's environment, via much more than the songs' titles. `Strange Moon Rising' shudders with the images and discords of a dark and dislocated outing, while `Morning Blues' recalls the earlier cover of Orbison's `It's Over'. But this is better: a more expansive, compelling tune, with Katherine Blamire's lead vocals perfectly pitched against Jessica Davies' distant whirr.
`Storm Song' captures the record's essence: a simple, saddened verse, set against a chorus torn by grief, but secured by the broad notes of Neil Walsh's viola; as in `Erie Lackawanna', each note and syllable is penetratingly clear.
The album concludes with the atmospheric, almost casual chords of `Feeling Is Turning Blue', around which a wistful solo is twisted, and the mutating chorus murmurs the tale of broken friendship: `Maybe it's something you learn,/ You take as much away before you crash and burn'. Then `After The Rain', returns us to the simple ingredients which flavour of all Smoke Fairies' work. Here: one guitar, harmonics, that neat combination of longing and fulfilment.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding Debut album, 9 Oct. 2010
This review is from: Through Low Light And Trees (Audio CD)
Smoke Fairies have a unique sound and this debut album has haunting melodies combined with compelling lyrics and beautiful vocals. Reminiscent of the best of 70's folk rock, this is an album you can listen to endlessly, and contains what Mark Riley ( BBC 6music) said was the best single of the year (Hotel Room) - Radcliffe and Maconie (Radio2) said they loved it 4 times when they played it for their pick and mix. Highly recommended.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An excellent "debut", 21 Jun. 2012
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I find myself in my late 40s and unimpressed by much contemporary music. And then something comes along to re-awaken my interest, something that sounds new or fresh and interesting. Smoke Fairies certainly draw on the past - noticeably the blues and 60s/70s West Coast stuff; there are even echoes of Kate Bush - but they have drawn on those influences to make something rather magical. Their style of guitar playing (lots of finger-picking and slide) and the mood of several songs partly justifies the Americana tag that has been applied to them. But there is also something unmistakeably English about them, a result of the church-hymnal quality of the vocal harmonies, but also the pastoral and even whimsical sensibility of certain songs (Storm Song and Dragon, for example). Accomplished musicianship and good songwriting are here combined to winning effect to produce one of the best things I have heard in recent years. And if you like this, try some of the earlier stuff: the compilation "Ghosts" and the hard-to-get-hold-of "Strange the Things" are equally as impressive.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Strange but very interesting, 29 Sept. 2010
By 
M. R. F. Matthews (UK) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Through Low Light And Trees (Audio CD)
Bought this a result of other reviews on amazon.co.uk . It's a strange ecclectic mixture of blues, folk rock, psychedelic rock et al. It's well worth a listen and I have bought 3 more copies of it for Xmas presents for old survivors of the 60's and 70's that I know!
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars 21st Century Schizoid Trees, 22 Feb. 2011
By 
Mark Shackelford "mark shackelford" (Worthing, UK) - See all my reviews
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Becca lent me this CD (which I now have to get my own copy of...) and it is spectacular.

Channeling the (in my 'humble' opinion) 70s finest folk rock band (Trees) with what appears to be STEREO Celia Humphris (by far the most beautiful and haunting voice - sorry you Maddy Prior/June Tabor/Jacqui McShee fans) in an updated and dated set of tracks.

Too soon for selective track examination - the overall tone is GLORIOUS!

If you loved Trees, or the early Steeleye, or Pentangle, or even some Prog Rock (sorry!) this for you.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mellow Treat, 10 Jan. 2012
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This was a real find - somehow there are elements of "She Moves Through the Fair"-style folk, acoustic guitar and Buddy Guy-type New Orleans blues all melded together here, but with an overwhelmingly mellow effect - music to kick off your shoes and relax to. I've nothing to offer by way of a comparison, which says a lot about the originality of this album. The singers' voices are very different but work together very effectively. Stand out tracks are Storm Song, After the Rain, Summer Fades and Erie Lackawanna, but that's just my opinion - all of them are equally likely to keep running round your head for days afterwards. Delicious.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Smoking Harmonies, 27 Feb. 2011
By 
Mr. Alan F. Hill "afjhill" (Vancouver) - See all my reviews
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The best part of the CD is the wonderful harmonies. The album is an interesting mix of early seventies hippie folk and current indie Americana. Some beautiful sparse and somewhat otherworldly songs. Not quite an out an out classic as there isn't quite enough musical or lyrical variety and it is all a bit conservative with a small c. Still...a band to watch for the future and when the album works it works really well.
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