Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – Smoking In Heaven [Review]

You’d be forgiven if you thought the new Kitty, Daisy & Lewis album had been recorded in the ’50s, such is it’s immediate warmth, raw vocals and retro sound.

Smoking In Heaven is the second record from the London siblings and resurrects the R&B, rockabilly style of their well-received debut, but also incorporates funk and ska influences, which gets the foot tapping.

Recording primarily on analogue equipment sourced from the ’40s and ’50s has given the band the ability to produce the bluesy sounds of Chuck Berry, Bobbettes and the roots of rock ‘n’ roll that is strewn across their sound.
The Durham family trio is the epiphany of pastiche, but although they touch on many different genres, they subscribe wholly to none.

Starting up the album with pulsating drums, opener ‘Tomorrow’  sets the tone nicely. When the guitars and horns follow suit, the track takes off and really comes to life with a bluesy solo of ’50s descent.

Lewis Durham’s guitar offers a perfect platform for the sultry vocals of his sisters Kitty and Daisy that work in perfect tandem.
Falling into the repetitive pattern so often used in blues based rock ‘n’ roll, 12-bar blues is the poison of choice and provokes the funk and jazz elements of ‘Messing With My Life’ and the infectious ‘I’m Going Back’.

Meanwhile ‘Paan Boogie Jam’ begins with a rolling piano intro and brushed drums before blossoming into a wonderful swing influenced jam, ending on the rasp of a trumpet.

The album loses its way briefly as ‘What Quid’ takes seven and a half minutes out to jam over three chords. Needless to say it does become slightly repetitive, even when it picks up it culminates in a familiar ending.

Things really get going again with ‘I’m So Sorry’ that harks back to the off-kilter guitars and horns and successfully induces the toe tapping once again.

The lyrics throughout are reflections of their influences, with love and loss prevalent subjects.
It’s not all bluesy however; the girls vocals are soulful and layered with feel-good moments that hums with guitar licks and authentic harmonica sounds.

The laidback sound and attitude is part and parcel of the package that the trio are selling. It is a sound of a bygone era, but an era remembered fondly and Kitty, Daisy & Lewis do it with the swagger and enjoyment that it was intended.

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-Scott Kerr

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