This time twelve months ago The Unthanks record Last was declared Breaking More Waves favourite album of the year. Since then the band has defied the industry norm and released three more LP’s and toured with different shows. They’ve managed all of this despite singer Rachel having a baby with pianist and husband Adrian McNally. This is a group that have a massively strong work ethic; and it’s work, or rather industry, that our ninth favourite album of 2012 deals with.
Diversions Vol.3 Songs from the Shipyards contains songs The Unthanks were commissioned to create and perform as a live soundtrack to the film of the same name by Richard Fenwick. It’s a moving and emotionally complex work that manages to beautifully capture the spirit and human side of a dying but once colossal industry.
Like anything The Unthanks do, the haunting voices of Rachel and Becky Unthank elegantly shine through as they sing of jetties, dirty swearing welders, riggers, coppersmiths, metal workers and big ships carrying their loads against wonderfully sparse music arranged by McNally combining with the evocative sounds of the shipyards themselves.
Considering this album is only a ‘diversion’ we can only imagine what The Unthanks will accomplish next time when they’re less distracted, but ‘diversion’ or not, Songs from the Shipyards is still a record the band can be immensely proud of.
The Unthanks - A Great Norther River (Video)
The Unthanks - Great Northern River from Mocha on Vimeo.