Words by Sean Moeller, Illustration by Johnnie Cluney, Recording engineered by Ian Grimble and Richard Matthews of Communion Music at 2KHz, Crouch End, London
The trees that surround Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies - along with the light that passes through and around them in the haunted evening hours, are of great importance. They are of grave importance, as well. They are the wooden skeletons, the unfeeling, heartless eavesdroppers that stand at attention, that stare and refuse to break scene. They suck it all in and cast nothing of their own.
The two British singers and songwriters who largely make up the group, Smoke Fairies, have an interesting relationship with the trees and the cascading light of silent intentions. It's featured all over their albums and it acts like a narrator that has no fingerprints on the scene, but could be pinned to every single occurrence, every happening that's transpired. They make the icy, but willing parts of the human spirit feel inviting, like they've just walked away from sitting close around a fireplace for the longest time. All that heat is still captured in the fibers of their clothing, able to be transferred with a touch.
Blamire and Davies are as hot-blooded as they come. It's just that they've been beaten by the vapors and the shadows too many times to know better. They've felt the cold brushes with another - the unsolvable cold shoulders and frigid beds - that give the worst head and heartaches, so they've decided they will just become the shadows themselves and see where that takes them. They sing in solemn, albeit thrilling tones, wondering about the vagueries of love, mostly the vagueries of the people attempting or rescinding it. They feel, sometimes, like "twisted wire and rust," as they make it "through the coldest months/I held onto a dying hope/That flickered in you." Most of the characters in Smoke Fairies songs have no easy going ahead of them.
There are incredible emotional chasms to deal with, to leap, to get to a place that's going to feel alright to them. A song like "Summer Fades," is an indication of the trees that they're barking up, most of the time. They can be heard pumping a quiet person for answers, knowing that they might not like what they hear, when they ask, "Can you hold me like someone you shouldn't have let go?/Can you love me like someone you loved so long ago?" The trees and the creeping light take in the sighs and the pregnant pauses and they sway gently, keeping to themselves.
*Essay originally published June, 2012