RabbleRouser Music (label)
11 December 2015 (released)
28 December 2015
The Unthanks have quietly gone about their business, gradually climbing up the greasy pole of success and here they are 10 years on. Having had what is probably their most successful year both commercially and creatively it’s seems appropriate to look back.
This however is not a compilation of their best known songs – there are large gaps - more like 10 years’ worth of odds and sods; as Adrian McNally says '...more an exercise in housekeeping'. As such there is no discernible pattern and what we have are songs from their beginnings in the folk clubs - The Unthank Family Band from 2000 - and others that give a hint of what was to come, and what we now have.
That is most clear on the live version of Close the Coalhouse Door from 2011 that foreshadows the more progressive elements that appeared on this years, Mount the Air.
The BBC sessions are interesting with a shorter version of Felton Lonnin and from 2008 Tar Barrel in Dale which is truly gorgeous. There are curiosities like a longish, tranquil version of Sexy Sadie and Robert Wyatt’s Alifib/Alifie from 2012 which like aforementioned Close to the Coalhouse Door is something of a portent. And bringing us right up to date we have the spectral 2000 Miles the Christmas Single.
This is probably not an essential purchase, more aimed at the completest - and they most likely have gone for the website only limited edition boxset - and at 76 minutes a touch long for one sitting. That said, despite the omissions, its a pretty diverse collection so most people with an interest in the band will find something to enjoy on this album.