The Unthanks: Mount the Air review – more voices please

(Rabble Rouser)

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.

Contributor

Neil Spencer

The GuardianTramp

Related Content

The Unthanks: Last – review
The British folk troupe are on imperious form on their mournful fourth album, says Neil Spencer

Neil Spencer

13, Mar, 2011 @12:04 AM

Article image
The Unthanks | live music review
Kitty Empire stamps along to an austere tale of northern folk

Kitty Empire

05, Jun, 2010 @11:06 PM

The Unthanks: Songs from the Shipyards – review
The Unthanks' soundtrack to a documentary about shipyards evokes the grime of a bygone era, writes Neil Spencer

Neil Spencer

27, Oct, 2012 @11:12 PM

The Unthanks With Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band: Diversions Vol 2 – review
In the Unthanks' latest collaboration, the sisters' vocals support the brass of a colliery band, writes Kitty Empire

Kitty Empire

28, Jul, 2012 @11:05 PM

Article image
The Unthanks: Lines review – national treasures sing Emily Brontë and Maxine Peake
(Rabble Rouser)

Neil Spencer

17, Feb, 2019 @8:00 AM

The Unthanks: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & the Johnsons – review
The Unthanks' folk interpretations of the canons of Antony Hegarty and Robert Wyatt prove a surprisingly good fit, writes Neil Spencer

Neil Spencer

20, Nov, 2011 @12:05 AM

Article image
The Unthanks: The Songs and Poems of Molly Drake review – a natural fit
(RabbleRouser)

Neil Spencer

21, May, 2017 @7:00 AM

Various: Harbour of Songs – review
Folk singers and writers combine on a charming album inspired by an artists' boat, writes Neil Spencer

Neil Spencer

21, Jul, 2012 @11:05 PM

Article image
Various Artists: Joy of Living: A Tribute to Ewan MacColl review – an engrossing portrait
This centenary collection of Ewan MacColl covers serves brilliantly to show off his songwriting skills

Neil Spencer

25, Oct, 2015 @8:00 AM

Article image
The Unthanks: 'We're miserable buggers and not afraid of it' | Music
Back with their fourth album, the Unthanks remain true to their Geordie folk roots, even if big sister Rachel has been forced to hang up her clogs, writes Tim Adams

Tim Adams

27, Feb, 2011 @12:02 AM