The Unthanks, a vocal duo from the north-east who've covered Antony and the Johnsons, now join forces with a colliery band for a suite that spans mining life and fatherhood. Recorded live on their recent tour, the voices of sisters Becky and Rachel Unthank take something of a back seat to Rachel's husband Adrian McNally's new-found ambition to arrange for brass. The emotional clout is undeniable. Trimdon Grange Explosion commemorates a mining disaster with restraint, while The Father's Suite finds McNally closing the circle between his father, his newborn and himself with only a little too much stateliness.
Kitty Empire is the Observer's pop critic. She has written for NME and occasionally crops up on Radio 4, 5Live, BBC 6Music, and has appeared on BBC2's The Culture Show and Newsnight Review. @kittyempire666