Smoke FairiesYear Seven Records
Darkness Brings The Wonders Home
Released: 31st January 2020
|LP - Dinked edition gold splatter||£24.99||Out of Stock|
|CD||£12.99||Pre-Order||Dispatched on or before Friday 31st January 2020|
Limited to 500
Exclusive Coloured vinyl – Gold & Black Splatter
Signed & Numbered 12”x12” Print
Exclusive Lyric Book
In the making of their new album Darkness Brings The Wonders Home, Smoke Fairies drew inspiration from mysteries both real and imagined: sea monsters, flocks of crows taking flight in extravagant formation, strange creatures dwelling in the mud near their new South London abode. With their mesmeric vocal presence and starkly poetic lyrics, singer/multi-instrumentalists Katherine Blamire and Jessica Davies embed all that odd magic into songs that speak to the realities of modern times—isolation, insomnia, an overall unease with the state of the world—and ultimately uncover an unlikely sense of hope.
Produced by Phil Ek (Fleet Foxes, The Black Angels, The Shins), Darkness Brings The Wonders Home merges Smoke Fairies’ musings and meditations with a decidedly guitar-driven sound, the duo’s unearthly harmonies endlessly floating atop lead-heavy riffs. Over the course of a rigorous month-long session in Seattle, Smoke Fairies adopted a purposely intimate approach to achieving that singular sonic tone.
‘We spent a long time trying to fathom the direction we wanted to take on this album. At times the options seemed overwhelming, but as new songs started to form we realized we needed to take them back to our core sound – our interplaying guitar parts’ says . “So then we had to really step up and do it ourselves, without relying on a band to fill anything in, which was quite a challenge—physically, mentally, everything.”
While Smoke Fairies initially intended to return to the earthy folk of early work like 2011’s Through Low Light and Trees, the duo soon found themselves assuming a new boldness in their guitar style and, in turn, pushing into much wilder terrain. In doing so, Blamire and Davies spent much of their time perusing the guitar shop near Ek’s chosen studio, experimenting with countless guitars and amps to augment the album’s sonic palette. “It was like being in a sweet shop, getting to try all these guitars we’d normally never be able to afford,” says Blamire. “We ended up making friends with guitars we never thought to use before, like this weird vintage Kay that sounded great but was so hard to play—to the point where there were days when our fingers were bleeding, or we had blisters in places you didn’t even know you could get them.”
Opening with “On the Wing,” Darkness Brings The Wonders Home quickly proves the power of matching that pummeling guitar work with Smoke Fairies’ finespun songwriting. With its woozy intensity and spellbinding rhythms, the song also introduces one of the album’s most prominent themes: the often-futile attempts at true connection at a time when the most impetuous behavior tends to prevail. “When we were little my brother wrote a poem about waking up and finding he’d changed into a swan overnight, with feathers growing out of his arms,” says Blamire of the song’s inspiration. “To me that’s an interesting metaphor for how people can grow into becoming quite flighty, where they’re never really able to settle in one place or with one person.”
An album deeply informed by aberrations of nature, Darkness Brings The Wonders Home delves into a different kind of fascination on “Out of the Woods”—a song sparked from Smoke Fairies’ study of the overgrown pond behind their house. “There’s something magical about all these weird things living out there in the mud,” says Blamire. “We started to project onto that, like the idea of something unexpected and good coming from the mud of your emotions.” Another song attuned to the fear of the unknown, the hypnotically ominous “Chew Your Bones” mines inspiration from the titular beast of Sarah Perry’s novel The Essex Serpent and from a local urban myth involving a character called The Croydon Cat Killer. “For years people thought someone was going around killing cats—they put a proper police force on it and everything, and then realized it’s just foxes,” Davies notes. “I’d also recently read an article about how some people feel uncomfortable with the idea of bringing kids into the world at the moment,” she adds, “We needed to write about the growing feeling that the world is on the verge of real change, there is the sense that there is this scary, unknown future lurking just beyond us ’.