The Unthanks: Diversions Vol 4: Songs and Poems of Molly Drake review – subtly heartbreaking


Cover versions of Robert Wyatt and Anohni songs, hook-ups full of thunder and chug with a Yorkshire brass band, a stark soundtrack about shipbuilding, and now this: the fourth side-project in the Unthanks’ intriguing parallel career. This album features settings of poems and songs by Nick Drake’s mother, Molly, first revealed to the world on a 2007 compilation of her son’s music, Family Tree.

Molly’s original songs are cut-glass and polite, with a harder, darker melancholy bubbling underneath, and it’s this tough, tender soul that this album aspires to reveal. Fans of the girlish northern voices of sisters Becky and Rachel Unthank, and the soft, shining piano of Adrian McNally, will adore it; others might get lost in the whispery sweetness of Dream Your Dreams and Never Pine for the Old Love, longing for more gravel and grit. When it comes, at the end of the subtly heartbreaking, I Remember, and the sombre Set Me Free, it hits.


Jude Rogers

The GuardianTramp

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