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


With all the current talk of ‘retromania’, no one is more nostalgic for a bygone era than Kitty, Daisy & Lewis. But not for them the outlandish metallic costumery of 80s synthpop or the laddish odour of Britpop; the three siblings from Kentish Town are wistful for an age in which their parents would be but children, at most. What the two sisters and one brother are so infatuated with is the post-war trends of rock’n’roll, swing and blues, and the organic means of recording and listening to these styles.

Smoking In Heaven is not the first full-length documentation of this borrowed nostalgia – their eponymous debut was released on Sunday Best in 2008 – but it is the first to be completely comprised of the Durham siblings’ own compositions. Sure, some of them sound like they could fit right in with the old standards at a postwar tea dance but it’s on the more unusual tracks that the siblings excel.

The crawling boogie of ‘Baby Don’t You Know’ starts off traditionally but soon descends into an extraneous noise freakout, barbed sonics sharpening the edges and lifting the song out of plush music halls and into the gritty streets. The instrumentals of ‘Paan Man Boogie’ and ‘What Quid?’ both sprawl on and feel as if they could carry on for eternity, subtle changes constantly refreshing the direction. Most intriguing of all, though, is ‘Messing With My Life’, where Kitty, Daisy & Lewis’ rock’n’roll foundations are infiltrated by 90s R&B, the smooth harmonies and pop melodies sounding more like a TLC track than one of their own. The mix of styles, whether intentional or not, is enthralling and a definite highlight on the record.

Quaint and quintessentially British, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis might have their hearts stuck in the past but Smoking In Heaven updates the traditional sounds of swing and blues to incorporate more modern elements, and, in this way, the trio are nothing short of pioneering.


Release date: 6th June 2011

God is in the TV is an online music and culture fanzine founded in Cardiff by the editor Bill Cummings in 2003. GIITTV Bill has developed the site with the aid of a team of sub-editors and writers from across Britain, covering a wide range of music from unsigned and independent artists to major releases.