Smoke Fairies Trail Away from Folk Traditions on Their Latest LP

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(Crossposted from MTV Iggy, 7/30/2014)

Name: Smoke Fairies

Where They’re From:  Chichester, United Kingdom

When They Started: 2006

Genre: Dream pop

For fans of:  Azure Ray, Marissa Nadler, Laura Marling

Sounds like: A quiet funeral procession through an icy forest

Smoke Fairies began not as a deliberate musical project, but as a friendship. Having met in a Sussex grammar school in the ’90s, Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies forged a bond as a couple of precocious young women, whose tastes aligned more with older blues and classic rock fans than with the bubblegum pop palates of their peers. It’s easy to picture them nerding out over Leadbelly guitar tabs, while their homework sat cold as an afterthought on their desks. But many years later, including one spent in New Orleans, their anachronistic tendencies have paid off. Since their first demo in 2007, they’ve supported Bryan Ferry, Richard Hawley and Laura Marling on tour, and collaborated with Jack White on their 2009 double A-side single, “Gastown” / “River Song.”

Recorded in a remote industrial estate near Kent, their latest self-titled LP encapsulates the overwhelming vacancy of a ghost town, swathed in dust and brimming with stories untold. The pair’s vocals sustain a delicately wizened timbre, while their instrumentals deviate from traditional folky roots by delving into more ambient, electronic textures in songs like “Drinks and Dancing” and “Eclipse Them All.” Their sound remains as soft and understated as their past work, but creeps closer toward minimalist pop territory. (One can probably blame it on Blamire’s secret deconstuctions of pop music while riding the city bus.)

Their self-titled album is out now on Full Time Hobby. Stream “Shadow Inversions” below:

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