Liverpool Sound and Vision Rating 9/10
They say there is no smoke without fire, that the burning of the sky is only a by product of flames that steal the very air and chokes the blood as it seeps into the lungs, taking the voice and clogs the eyes, blinding them from what is real and the clarity that comes with unhindered visionary purpose.
To be Free Like Smoke though is to be able to rise above the surface, to be able, even for a short while, to see beyond the horizon and add your own signals to those willing to take them to heart. It is to be free like Tiki Black, to have the passion that rages like an inferno, a volcano at the heart of her spirit so that smoke is not immediately thought of as a threat but one of a message across the sky, one deciphered by senses that are keen and enthusiastic to understand a mouth watering truth, that makes this new single one of absolute power.
The single also involves a much loved heroine of the Liverpool acoustic scene, the very talented Jo Bywater, and it is in this collaboration that the essence of both women springs forth, that it rolls across the sky and doesn’t dissipate, that it continues and becomes thunder, it relishes in unleashing a downpour of beauty and the accompanying lightning storm is fantastic; to be Free Like Smoke is to unleash potential and in both Tiki Black and Jo Bywater that potential is nothing short of impressive.
The fire is to be heard throughout the song and it is a welcome, a hail of past love for Ms. Black’s music that makes her return so enjoyable, so perfect and one for which there is no contradiction of purpose. What makes it so good is the woman herself, the pathos of the song is not missed and yet its haunting figure in the background is one that stands with a smile, a comfortable ease in which the listener is once again left with a dropped jaw and the heart thumping with clear perspective.
Free Like Smoke, if only we could be allowed to be so liberated in our art.
Ian D. Hall