2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
The New Tradition.,
This review is from: Last (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.