Smoke Fairies - Wild Winter

by Kevin Orton Rating:8 Release Date:2015-11-20

Winter is here and it has never sounded so good. If you were expecting our Smoke Fairies to be staring forlornly out the window on a snowy eve, the opener 'Christmas Without a Kiss' isn’t having any of it. This is a dark stirring start to a restless nocturne of an album.

Their melodic take on Captain Beefheart’s 'Steal Softly Thu Snow' is revelatory. Haunting and dream-swept at times, at other times romping with jazzy panache. No napping on this one. A gorgeous nod to the mad genius that was Don Van Vliet.

'Three Kings' drives the sleigh along under the stars. Give and Receive brings things down to a flickering ember. Its yearning, “I heard a rumor that a child was going to save us,” leaves little room for interpretation yet, plenty left to question. A telling line in “on the coldest night, burn the candles bright”. 

Circles in Snow begs to be taken back to “where our ideas were born” and “streets where we were younger”. Compared to the preceding tracks, it’s pleasant but not the kind of track that is going to keep you coming back for more. The cheeky, hard hitting Bad Blood is more like it, picking things up and throwing them at wall demanding, “Have you been bad or been good.” The title track is a beguiling bit of Pop balladry, while the atmospheric instrumental Snowglobe Blizzard comes across as obligatory. The kind of New Age noodling that goes in one ear and out the other. However, the spare, harrowing Country-Gospel tinged, So Much Wine is an album standout. All up in the Air ends things on a wry, uncertain note. For any of its short comings, Wild Winter has more than enough to satisfy long term fans and beginners.

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