The Tyneside group have cut a singular path in modern folk, melding the immaculate sibling vocals of Rachel and Becky Unthank with neoclassical string arrangements, and drawing material from local tradition and such unlikely sources as King Crimson. Mount the Air maintains the approach to less winning effect. Two 10-minute pieces relegate song and vocals to second place behind ambitious but lumbering orchestration – producer Adrian McNally is, alas, no Gil Evans. The band hit form on the gorgeous, unadorned Magpie, while Hawthorn is an elegant, plaintive treatment of Charles Causley’s poem. Two instrumentals eschew the group’s strength; more voices please.
Neil Spencer is a writer and an astrologer for The Observer