Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – Smoking In Heaven (Sunday Best/Shock)

The Durham clan follows up their self-titled debut album with a collection of original tunes that finds the trio of siblings branching out musically from the 1940s & 50s-style jump blues and rockabilly that they initially made their mark with.

At least that what it sounds like when listening to track one. Tomorrow is a slice of ska written by Lewis along with his mum, Ingrid Weiss (mum and dad record and tour with the trio, making it very much a family affair). Anyone who saw the group play in Auckland earlier this year will know that the guest appearance by ska legend Eddie “Tan Tan” Thornton on trumpet was a highlight of the show. So, it’s no surprise that he shows up on two tracks here, the other being I’m So Sorry, which also features the trombone stylings of Rico Rodriguez (The Specials).

The group reverts back to their original sound for the second track, Will I Ever, a bouncy Western swing number written and sung by Daisy. As they do live, the three principal members switch instruments and lead vocals with Kitty leading the way on Baby Don’t You Know and Lewis doing the same on Don’t Make A Fool Of Me.

The album was recorded on “classic” analogue equipment at their home studio and retains the warm sound of their previous album. The problem I have with the album is twofold. The songs rarely rise above being mediocre exercises in blues, boogie-woogie, rockabilly or whatever other musical style the group is aping at the time. The other is the vocal performances. While they all have excellent, if unremarkable voices, their performances sound somewhat lifeless. In short, there seems to be very little passion in the songs other than for their devotion to sounding “authentic”.

At this point Kitty, Daisy & Lewis (and Mummy and Daddy) need to decide if they have something musically relevant to offer, or if they are going to simply become a novelty act, recreating the sounds of another time, without the feelings.

Marty Duda

Click here to listen to You’ll Soon Be Here from Smoking In Heaven: