Every now and again, you hear something that really stops you in your tracks, not because of its message brilliantly being hammered home as per IDLES, nor because it’s in any way groundbreaking, but rather, merely because, at its core, it is aurally beautiful. Such is the case with Bryony Marie Fry, aka Bright Smoke, who comes across as some kind of mystical mermaid type from the cover art, and somehow that image conveys rather perfectly the content held within – as though she is serenading the ocean around her, her solitary words disappearing in the vast nothingness.
That said, this is far from a downbeat album, probably more accurately described as – for wont of a better word – ‘chillout’ music, but with an added layer of vulnerability about the whole thing. ‘I Met Myself Within A Dream‘, for instance, is like a far more ethereal version of the Sundays classsic ‘Here’s Where The Story Ends‘, but instead of pandering to the ‘pop’ machine, instead here there is a cool meditative quality that permeates throughout Temper My Devotedness: Make Sense Of This Wreckage, And Echo The Process. I’m sure Gary Numan will explain ‘This Wreckage‘ to you though, Bryony, if you ask him nicely enough…
A multi-instrumentalist, Fry has been playing a full size cello for many years now, and this gives many of the tracks here a real depth, not least the two mesmerising opening numbers ‘The Water‘ amd ‘The Knife‘, but even without it, these songs have a proper uplift to them – the feelgood factor of Elbow‘s ‘One Day Like This‘ but without the overbearing schmaltz that goes with it.
Fry’s voice has a very seductive aura, sounding like a million great songwriters rolled into one. It would take me an age to mention them all, but just for starters I noticed shades of Evanescence‘s Amy Lee, Danielle Dax, Soap & Skin, Lana Del Rey and Laura Nyro amongst others. That should give you some kind of indication as to how passionate both her vocals and her compositions are, and by the time you’ve hit the instrumental drone piece ‘Elemental Pre-Consciousness‘ at the tail end of proceedings, you definitely feel as though you’ve been taken on an emotional journey. Although at the end of it, she’s sponged you down and kissed you goodnight on the forehead too.
A really lovely album, especially if you love things like New York Tendaberry.
Temper My Devotedness: Make Sense Of This Wreckage, And Echo The Process is out now, self released, through AWAL.