The Unthanks: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & the Johnsons – review


The distance between the Unthanks' Geordie folk canon and the songbooks of modern-day sophisticates Antony Hegarty and Robert Wyatt proves less than expected. The group's chamber folk – stately piano, string quartet, trumpet – is a perfect fit for contemplative pieces such as Wyatt's "Sea Song" (which they have previously covered), while Hegarty's "You Are My Sister" might have been written for the Tyneside siblings. The album is taken from a 2010 London show, but the Unthanks' intertwining voices – cadent, mournful, tender – never falter and the between-songs banter ("There will be clog dancing!") grounds an ethereal atmosphere. A triumphant excursion.


Neil Spencer

The GuardianTramp

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