One of Cerys Matthews Picks for April 2015. As is so often the case those truly immersed in music are incapable of contriving success in the music business. Such is the case with the Smokey's. This their first and final album is the only surviving relic of a band that fell apart before a single song was released. For the last 8 years I have worked on and off recording music in London at Antonio Feola's Fish Factory studio.
A hidden jewel of a studio for the many bands who pass through its doors. It is a chapel of sorts to the outsider. Musicians who record here, whether established in their careers or making their first record all find themselves at home.
Some such strays were the Smokey Angle Shades. A ramshackle group of singers and songwriters who came with other bands, but found each other and studio owner Antonio Feola to play drums and record their band.
My fondness for this music has grown as I've heard snatches of playback before and after sessions. Having had the rough mixes in my car for a year on repeat I knew that whilst the band may never play again the record must find its way to the airways and on to ears of those people hungry for music that cannot help how it sounds.
Two breakdowns, a marriage, loves lost and found, a million pounds and an eye (no lie). That's roughly the bill for this record. Perhaps the band was never meant to be, as members followed love, madness or other bands, Razorlight amongst others. The record at least was destined to exist and not even Paul Epworth's millions could persuade studio owner Feola to part with his studio and give up on the Shades of Joy.
I hope you enjoy the record as much as I do.
Benedic Lamdin Jan 2015
The Smokey's joyous sound is a soulful country tinged pop. Like a head on collision between the Beatles and the Bee Gees at Stax or Muscle Shoals studios. A kras comparison but I know you insist.
Smokey Angle Shades are: Antonio Feola, Ned Crowther, Brian 'Nipsey' Russell, Freddie Fritz, Pat Smyth
1. Empty Carriage
2. Mean to Me
3. Everybody Knows
5. Evening Sunshine
6. Sad Hour Song
8. The Way Around
9. Mother Dearest
10. Sad Blue Eyes of Jesus Available from 05.06.2015