‘Mount The Air’ from The Unthanks - soaring, free-flowing atmospheric songs(December 09, 2014)
Two years in arriving, ‘Mount The Air’ is the first studio album by The Unthanks for four years, and it holds an elusive magic all its own. The seemingly limitless scale of this soaring, free-flowing collection of atmospheric songs is something that must be heard to truly understand. This is music with a beating heart. And listening to this album is something you should do … seriously. The resilience of tradition alongside fearless innovation, the expression is total, the devotion to its creation exceptional.
The Unthanks exercise an approach that combines a myriad of freely-mixed styles into their own brand of folk music, which resides perfectly on the outside edge as well as at the core. Yet that in itself is only part of the focus. Blending a less than obvious combination of instruments into unfamiliar compositions that still retain an essential intimacy is another emphasis. And all the while this album locks your attention – from the silky opening ten minutes of ‘Mount The Air’ and the atmosphere-steeped ‘Madam’ through the longing wish of ‘Died For Love’ – steadily winding its sinuous grip around you. This music offers a quiet understanding, a release into peace and a timeless sense of well-being.
Echoing piano, sweeping strings, potent brass, intoxicating percussion, moody organ – each participate and all find time to make their mark, with the softly seductive vocals embroidering throughout. Listen to the sorrowing narrative of ‘Foundling’, the soporific ‘Last Lullaby’, the questioning ‘Hawthorn’ or ‘For Dad’ with its inspired sentiment and the seduction is complete.
Truly, ‘Mount The Air’ is a work of musical art releasing on 9th February 2015 on The Unthanks own label, RabbleRouser Music.
Find The Unthanks and the album here: www.the-unthanks.com
Reviewer: Tim Carroll