ALBUM REVIEW: The Unthanks - Mount The Air

THE UNTHANKS ... Mount The Air (RabbleRouser Music)
THE UNTHANKS ... Mount The Air (RabbleRouser Music)

FOR those in tune with the North East music scene, this Tyneside quintet need no introduction - and for everyone else, their first proper studio album in four years is as good a place to start as any.

Although still steeped in tradition, Mount The Air builds amply on the outfit’s established folk aesthetic, basing itself around the breezy, ethereal voices of sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank and complimented by the lush yet-never-florid arrangements of Adrian McNally.

Anyone looking for an example need look no further than the opening title track; a 10-minute suite of quite startling scope and ambition, and proof their music is far more than a fond ode to the past.

Wondrously understated, the subsequent 10 tracks rarely slip below that level, flowing freely from moments of sweeping beauty such as Last Lullaby to the stark, stripped-back splendour found on Magpie.

It’s a method of craftsmanship which reveals more with every listen, and all in all makes for their most rewarding record to date. 8/10. AW