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VINE VOICEon 18 July 2009
It happens every year .A new band comes out of nowhere and blows my socks off ,taking half my metatarsals with them .This year it would appear to be the Smoke Fairies doing considerable damage to the booted bony things on the end of my legs. Frozen Heart is absolutely wonderful. Richard Hawley has described them "as the best thing he has heard in years " and is taking them on tour with him in October .I'm certainly not going to argue with him .
The Smoke Fairies are Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire, who met and started playing music together at school in their home town of Chichester. They have spent time in the Sothern states of America so their music has a certain fragile element of American blues. Think of a cross between The Cowboy Junkies , Diana Krall with large dollops of English folk music -Eliza Carthy or Rachel Unthank & The Winterset spring to mind.
Over the five songs on this E.P. ( A much neglected music medium ) the duo employ the nucleus of sparse acoustic guitars , droning atmospherics and some adroit vocal interplay to mesmerising effect. The title track is the most immediate song on here, it's spellbinding blues tinged cyclic riff lodging in the cerebellum with quite indecent haste. The lyrics have a lyrical and poignant bite too - "You said I've come to hate your heart because it's like the rolling sea / restless and hungry and only cruel to me".
"He's Moving On " starts like the soundtrack to a mournful elegiac western but the spindly guitars carry a tale of redemption and abandonment ."Morning Light " is spectrally hypnotic with keening harmonies and cunning brushed percussion while "Fence " digs deep into it's lamenting rhythm but adds piano and creamy backing vocals. "We Had Lost Our Minds" is (arguably ) the most diaphanous song but still has a wraith like haunting evocative beauty .
A truly wonderful release Frozen Heart is poetic, romantic and musically sublime. Like Kate Rusby if she had been raised in Louisiana instead of Barnsley . This is not the work of hearts frozen but hearts engorged with hot blood and emotion .If this is not some of the finest music you will hear all year i,m away with the fairies.
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