Tuesday 15 December 2015

Albums of 2015 #7 The Unthanks - Mount The Air

The seventh record on our Albums of 2015 list is Mount The Air by The Unthanks. They’re another act (like Chvrches and Charli XCX - already featured on this list) who have had other long-players on past Breaking More Waves Albums of the Year lists, and like Chvrches have also topped it with the breathtaking Last in 2011.

Mount The Air is another remarkable body of work – and the emphasis is on the words body of work. For this is a weighty collection of songs, clocking in at over an hour, that finds the band expanding their repertoire way beyond their original folk roots to encompass jazz and orchestral sounds; it is dare we say it a progressive album. 

Brought together in The Unthanks’ own studio this record contains the band’s most ambitious and uncompromising song ever - the title track - which is an extraordinary thing of power and beauty that takes an arrow from the bow of the band Elbow and fires it high and soaring way beyond anything else they’ve done. It’s worth buying the record for that track itself. It’s not all grand and sweeping though, elsewhere there’s ghostly piano balladry (which sometimes harks back to a sound found on their third record, the Mercury nominated The Bairns, recorded as Rachel Unthank & The Winterset) vocal eerie minimalism (on the spectral Magpie), waltzes (The Poor Stranger) and tasteful twilight cinematic folk ambience on songs such as Last Lullaby.

Mount The Air adds to The Unthanks ever growing ever impressive back catalogue and suggests that with their next recording they really could go anywhere.

The Unthanks - Mount The Air (Short Single Version)

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