The Smoke Fairies had me at "Frozen Heart." Actually, on more comprehensive listening to their collection of bits ’n’ pieces, they had me at "When You Grow Old." Will you remember me, the singer wonders. Will you remember me at all when you grow old and sit in a chair by the window? Will my name and what I did to/with you mean anything? It is all doomed to erasure by the mind's encroaching fug? And where does it go when we lose it — “deep inside”? All in one 2:44 bite just like those old Beatles singles. But like some of those Beatles singles (say "Things We Said Today"), it hits like a haiku. A righteous haiku.

Smoke Fairies comprise two young English ladies, Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire. They bonded at school over not liking the music they heard at school and obsessing, contrariwise, with Led Zeppelin and the stuff Led Zeppelin stole from. I don't catch them stealing anything in this collection and every song tosses out sweet but haunted harmonies like that other legendary fairy bunch circa WWI, the Cottingley contingent, hovering wings atwitter for the camera...but losing their light, losing the little girls who came to play with them because fairies live on a different frequency than little girls.

Blamire and Davies moved to New Orleans and picked up swamp guitar, picking to counterbalance the singing, but given New Orleans, and swamp guitar, this was largely a matter of introducing one set of haints to another. Now everything gets along with everything else and "Fences," for one, paints a picture of Big Easy–style wastrels. Well, that's the content. Form-wise, they're always half-evaporated. I haven't felt so deliriously goosebumpy since that long-ago night in a haunted house. Or maybe that was "haunted house." But maybe...

  • Album: Ghosts (2010)
  • Artist: Smoke Fairies
  • Label: 453 Music
  • Songs: (1) Sunshine (2) When You Grow Old (3) Living With Ghosts (4)
  • Troubles (5) Frozen Heart (6) Fences (7) Morning Light (8) We Had Lost
  • Our Minds (9) He's Moving On

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