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Last [CD]

The Unthanks Audio CD
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
Price: 13.71 & FREE Delivery in the UK. Details
o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o o
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"Music as tough as it is gentle, as ancient as it is modern, and as coldly desolate as it is achingly intimate. They might not end up being the best-selling British all-girl group of all time, but they're well on their way to being the most charismatic and imaginative" Paul Morley, Observer Music Magazine Top 50 Albums of the Year (number 17)

"Every now and again, and ... Read more in Amazon's The Unthanks Store

Visit Amazon's The Unthanks Store
for 6 albums, 4 photos, discussions, and more.

Frequently Bought Together

Last + Here's The Tender Coming + The Bairns
Price For All Three: 37.18

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Product details

  • Audio CD (14 Mar 2011)
  • Number of Discs: 1
  • Format: CD
  • Label: Rabble Rouser
  • ASIN: B004JPI1P8
  • Other Editions: Audio CD  |  MP3 Download
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (42 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 33,406 in Music (See Top 100 in Music)

Listen to Samples and Buy MP3s

Songs from this album are available to purchase as MP3s. Click on "Buy MP3" or view the MP3 Album.

Song Title Time Price
Listen  1. Gan To The Kye 5:390.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  2. The Gallowgate Lad 6:060.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  3. Queen of Hearts 4:320.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  4. Last 7:090.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  5. Give Away Your Heart 3:490.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  6. No One Knows I'm Gone 2:110.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  7. My Laddie Sits Ower Late Up 2:450.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  8. Canny Hobbie Elliott 3:280.99  Buy MP3 
Listen  9. Starless 6:000.99  Buy MP3 
Listen10. Close The Coalhouse Door 7:020.99  Buy MP3 
Listen11. Last (Reprise)0:570.99  Buy MP3 

Product Description

BBC Review

Self-confessed "miserable buggers", The Unthanks revel in an emotional space that is doleful, downcast and frequently downhearted. Proving once again that sad songs are very often the best, their fourth album is brimming with material that is as haunting as it is beautiful.

Creating such a sustained, immersive reverie is possible not only because of the choice of songs, but the sparse, intensely focussed production and some stunningly imaginative, minimalist-style arrangements that John Adams would be proud of. The strings have an icy, autumnal countenance about them, and it’s against their chilled and often foreboding presence that the voices of Rachel and Becky radiate warmth and compassion.

The Unthanks have always embraced interpretations of material usually considered to be outside the folk tradition – Robert Wyatt’s Sea Song from their Mercury Prize-nominated The Bairns (2007) being a case in point. Here, it’s Tom Waits’ No One Knows I’m Gone that is languorously assimilated.

However, it’s their rendition of King Crimson’s Starless (from 1974’s Red) that will truly turn heads. A gorgeously judged vocal from Becky, the trumpet tracing the disconsolate path of Robert Fripp’s aching melody, and the resetting of the original track’s ominous bass riff as a brooding cloud gathered on the horizon, is an audacious and thoroughly triumphant reinvention.

It’s this ability to pare back extraneous matter and to stare unflinchingly into the very soul of a song that makes Last such a spellbinding, if at times unsettling, experience. On Close the Coalhouse Door, they dispense entirely with the busied, bristling insistency of Alex Glasgow’s original tune about the dread human cost of extracting coal, and cast it slowly adrift on an undulating wave of remembrance.

A muted trickle of repetitive piano notes pulses intermittently, weaves amidst a dusty, smoky world through which the mournful arc of lonely trumpet sounds a Last Post-style tribute. "Close the coal house door, there’s bairns inside" – a verse added in the wake of the 1966 Aberfan disaster, when 144 people – 116 of them children – died as a colliery slag heap swept through the Welsh town is unbearably poignant and moving.

--Sid Smith

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
29 of 31 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Hauntingly Beautiful 13 Mar 2011
Format:Audio CD
This is one of those albums that has to be listened to a few times to be fully appreciated.
Terrific vocals from the two ladies, sophisticated arrangements and superb musicianship all come together to create a haunting - if at times bleak - sound scape.
It's hard to single out individual tracks, as this work needs to listened to as a whole, but their cover of Tom Waits' No One Knows I'm Gone is stunning as is Starless, a King Crimson song I have not previously heard. Listen out for the trumpet on this track. Beautiful. The centrepiece and one of the highlights of the album has to be the title track, Last, almost at times Pink Floyd-esque in it's arrangement.
I love the way they sing in their native Northumbrian accent, it adds to the overall haunting quality of the album.
Superb, but give it time to grow on you. It will.
Let's hope that this album brings them the massive crossover success they deserve.
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30 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Unthanks - Save the best until "Last" 14 Mar 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Quite how the Unthanks have managed it is anyone's guess but with their fourth and latest album "Last" they have recorded a work of stark beauty and huge maturity which tops all their previous work. The latter statement is not made lightly since many will argue that the "The Bairns" is a beautifully bleak treat and cannot be surpassed, while their last album "Here's the tender coming" saw the band produce a record which was so good it was almost obscene. Their unsentimental and honest takes on a range of traditional and new material has generated huge excitement around British folk and their crossover appeal is potentially massive with their take on traditional songs like "Annachie Gordon" or Ewan MacColl's "Nobody knew she was there" spine tingling in their mix of gritty Northumberland vocal phrasing and neo classical arrangements.

At the heart of the Unthanks vision is an ability to take just about any song and infuse it with either a deep folk melancholy or alternatively give it a new sheen, which essentially reinvents the original concept. There is neither any jumping on the nu-folk bandwagon for these musicians, indeed the word "uncompromising" often creeps into parlance when discussing the band, although perish the thought if that suggests a lack of accessibility or warmth. Far from it, as the huskiness in the voices of Rachel and Becky are beguiling and completely affecting and with their superb band they have produced in "Last" a reflective and world beating set of songs that draws you like a moth to a flame.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Symphony of Sorrowful Songs 14 Mar 2011
Format:Audio CD|Verified Purchase
Sad, sorrowful, mournful, bleak and almost indescribably beautiful, this is a sepia-toned and autumnal body of work perhaps better suited to an October release than being unleashed just as the days are getting noticeably longer and warmer, but no matter - it's an album for all seasons.

Unlike its notable predecessor "Here's The Tender Coming", there's no up-tempo romp here to mitigate the pervading sense of gloom, but on reflection that kind of interruption would probably have been inappropriate, and might simply have broken the spell.

Without dismissing in any way some very fine original songwriting and arrangements, it is the two surprising cover choices that threaten to steal the show. The emotionally-charged treatment of Tom Waits' "No One Knows I've Gone" is genuinely jaw-dropping; the shortest track on the record, it's a real "hairs on the back of your neck" moment. Likewise, a stunning arrangement of King Crimson's prog-rock classic "Starless" (minus the prog) is destined to live long in the memory. A special record.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The New Tradition. 5 Aug 2011
Format:Audio CD
In create something special, you have to do something different. The Unthanks have already gained the plaudits and praise of the folk cognescenti with their previous outtings. 'Last' could have been, and no one would have blamed them for producing, a similar album to Bairns. But with the maturity and ability of the band now, we have been treated to a collection of tunes that hold together perfectly - this is truly an 'album', designed to be listened to from first to last in one sitting. It's like looking through a collection of sepia-tinted photographs, every turn of the page revealing a little more heart-break and history. That's not to say it's a concept album - don't get carried away by the inclusion of a King Crimson song!

Melancolic but never morose, nostalgic without being twee and bare but not stark, Rachel and Becky's voice have been treated to the most sympathetic production and arrangement. It's actually the non-traditional songs that stand above and act as furlong-posts as you listen. Starless is a wonderful melody which despite getting the attention from reviewers would sound great no matter who covered it but it's the eponymous track that picks you up and sweeps you away into the sensory land of the Unthanks. The traditional instrumentation and voices sits so perfectly with the non-traditional lyrics and arrangement - you almost feel that the band have created a whole new genre of popular music - this is the 'something different' they have done to make 'Last' so special. And it is to be found in every song. King Crimson cover or not, this music IS progressive.

The next album will be so difficult for The Unthanks - surely they must pick some less melancolic material but how will they continue to approach it with the sensitivity and freshness that we find here.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars Bleak and Beautiful
Love the lush orchestration with the voices as haunting as ever. My favourite album of theirs so far. Read more
Published 5 months ago by jonb
4.0 out of 5 stars Nice album.
As a fan of the Here's the Tender Coming album, I bought this hoping for much of the same. It's a very nice album, very laid back and pleasant to have on in the background, but it... Read more
Published 6 months ago by A Pickford
4.0 out of 5 stars MMMmmm,
This album is ok but certainly not one to rush out and buy, it lacks the spirit of some of their other music, more mass production than passion
Published 9 months ago by Mr. William Land
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent taster for what came after.
The Unthanks are, like of folk musicians, an acquired taste. The music tends to reflect the dark side of life on Tyneside and this coupled with both the regional accents and the... Read more
Published 10 months ago by Welshlion
5.0 out of 5 stars I hope it isn't the .........
The Unthanks are not just a folk band, but what other genre can define them? On this album there are old folk songs and new songs, even a rock song, all placed together perfectly... Read more
Published 12 months ago by on the corner
3.0 out of 5 stars Bible black
Having been working my way through all their albums over the past few months (still have diversions vol 1 to hear) i must admit i find this the hardest one to enjoy. Read more
Published 14 months ago by Peter Hill
2.0 out of 5 stars Too subdued and lush for it's own good.
Opener Gan to the Kye is engaging, understated vocals, subtly arranged accompaniment that is lusher than traditional fair, reminding me of the arrangement's Sam Lakeman does for... Read more
Published 17 months ago by Lendrick
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly Spellbindingly Beautiful
This is spellbinding, beautiful and utterly special. The music and voices weave about you like a beautiful ghost just beyond reach, yet close enough to be touched very deeply.
Published 23 months ago by Yanto
5.0 out of 5 stars New album is the last
I first heard of the Unthanks via a John Lennon covers CD then saw them on Later.But this was not just another act Jools Holland would enthuse over the 3 girls were actually... Read more
Published on 13 May 2012 by Richard
1.0 out of 5 stars Late night music
Vert disappointing. After watching the Folk Awards I thought to try something different. This truly sounds like a late night dirge, following a good evening of food and drink. Read more
Published on 13 Mar 2012 by keenreader
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