Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – Smoking in Heaven

We make no secret of the fact that we love the shit out of England’s Kitty, Daisy & Lewis here at Something You Said. When we reviewed their debut album on our old site in 2008, we concluded that if their brand of rockabilly jump-blues failed to excite you then it was probably time you gave up listening to music altogether. Then, when we wrote about their gig in Sydney in 2009, we did so in such gushing terms that the delightfully polite Kitty even wrote to us to say thank you.

So you can imagine our excitement at the discovery that their sophomore offering bursts with the same joie-de-vivre and displays the same level of passion for the music they create. This time round, things are a little more polished, but while the erratic sound levels from their eponymous debut have been left behind, the working practices remain impressively authentic. The album was recorded straight to eight track one-inch tape in a home studio modelled on the one at Sun Records and, because of this, sounds like a proper long-player in the old-fashioned sense.

Perhaps the main difference between Smoking in Heaven and their debut is that all of the tracks here were penned by the siblings (along with a couple written by their parents, who – as if all this weren’t lovely enough already – are also in the band). If their first record may have seemed like a novelty – a trio of teens playing covers of tunes written decades before they were born – then this collection of songs shows beyond any doubt that Kitty, Daisy & Lewis really are absolutely the real deal.

The record opens excitingly with the brilliant ska of Tomorrow, featuring the effervescent Eddie ‘Tan Tan’ Thornton on trumpet, and sets the upbeat tone of the album perfectly. Meanwhile, Messing With My Life is perhaps the closest that the trio will ever come to a regular pop tune and shows that they are capable of giving a contemporary edge to their sound, while Going Back is swinging rockabilly at its most fun.

All of which results in a triumphant return for a band whose oldest member, remarkably, is still only twenty. If the auto-tuned, plastic rubbish that currently litters commercial radio station playlists had one-hundredth of the energy, honesty, heart and soul that this record does, the music world would be a much more satisfying place.

Review by Bobby Townsend