Reviews

‘Memory Box - Archive Treasures (2005-2010)’ from The Unthanks - something unheard, well-loved, different

(December 31, 2015)

If you decide to dig through your back catalogue for both published and unpublished work, then it’s a fair bet that the collection will include the odd unused demo, some dust-covered gems, a few old favourites and live tracks filed away under ‘release someday’. So when ‘Memory Box - Archive Treasures (2005-2010)’ arrived from The Unthanks, there was an immediate sense of expectation … something unheard, something well-loved, something the-unthanks-memory-boxdifferent … and that’s exactly what you get, and it’s a treat on so many levels.

The press blurb describes the 14-track album as: “Rather than a summary of the last ten years … this record is more like the missing jigsaw pieces.” That pretty much sums up ‘Memory Box - Archive Treasures (2005-2015)’ which ranges far and wide across their original and extensive repertoire. There’s an expressive take on The Pretender’s ‘2000 Miles’ (released as a Christmas single) live versions from 2008 to 2011 of the touching ‘On A Monday Morning’, the emotionally powerful ‘I Wish I Wish’, before the hard hitting ‘Blue Bleezin Drunk’ and ‘Close The Coalhouse Door’ make their presence felt.

A selection of dusted down gems also include an expansive and expressive, previously unreleased live version of Robert Wyatt’s ‘Alifib/ Alifie’ plus ‘The Gallowgate Lad’ from The Tyne Theatre, Newcastle, the well-known Tar Barrel in Dale’and a different take on Queen of Hearts. The album rounds out with A Dream of a Tree in a Spanish Graveyard featuring Ian McMillan, ‘Oak, Ash and Thorn’ recorded for the Peter Bellamy Oak, Ash Thorn Project and a little treasure from the past, 'The Unthank Family Band’ recorded at Hartlepool Folk Club in 2000.

The ‘Memory Box - Archive Treasures (2005-2010)’ CD originally came as part of The Unthanks Memory Box, which contained The Unthanks On Film,a feature length film of the Mount the Air tour, the 60-page The Unthanks Songbook, The Unthanks Kitchen recipe book of dishes made at their Northumberland winter weekends plus art prints, postcards and photographs. A limited edition - which is gone when it’s gone - now only the Archive Treasures CD is available separately. Find The Unthanks here: www.the-unthanks.com

Review: Tim Carroll

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