Where Smoke Fairies' issuance of the Ghosts gatherum (here) was a funereally Poe-etic compendium of sirenic wistfulness, their new one, Blood Speaks, starts out comparatively bouncily, highly melodic in Let Me Know before proceeding to Awake, a Sapphire era John Martyn-y cut, lush and sparkling, progressive ornaments and development flowing, something the Strawbs might've once done. Jessica Davies and Katherine Blamire, the Fairies themselves, openly confess they've become more confident and dynamic, that their influences have broadened, and it's noticeable that this left turn locates everywhere in the release. Clannad, Waterboys, Sandy Denny, John Cale, Blackmore's Night, and others raise their influential sonic heads in various places, investing Blood with more discernably a rock oriented architecture.
Still, the bulk of the mood is, as was previously the métier, eerie, phantasmic, and conceptual, the entire cycle reading like chapters in a Gothic ghost story, the pair's lovely vocals tying everything together, threading through the landscape in lilting sonorities, smoothing the way through shifting ambiances, now exultant and shining, now dark and thoughtful. An orchestral presence paints vistas behind them while guitar, bass, and sundry basic instruments sit closer to the listener, minstrels in from the cold, between library and chamber hall, fellow travelers in the caravan desiring nothing more than to beguile your ears and brain.
The promo lit's a bit difficult to decipher. I've no clue if there's a single disc format, but, if so, it comes with 10 songs totalling about 45 minutes, the standard formulary, but there definitely exists a 2-disc version, adding 5 more cuts to the whole, a good thing and which brings the whole affair up to 63 minutes, so one may well wonder why the songs weren't just added to the standard issuance 1-disc-er, if it exists. Those bonus songs nonetheless follow perfectly in line with the 10-cut progression. Then there's a red vinyl version (yum!) accompanied by a CD of the 'full' LP, though I'm unsure as to whether that's the 10 or 15-cut version. Sigh…so many marketing angles these days! Regardless, Blood Speaks is a savory album with appreciably augmented spark and dimensionality over and above the back catalogue (two official full albums plus Ghosts plus a number of singles) and is so far the emergence of the pair's most definitive wont.
Edited by: David N. Pyles
Copyright 2013, Peterborough Folk Music Society.
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