Rachel and Becky Unthank are sisters, and yes that really is their last name. They are from Northumberland, which is a county in the north east of England. Formerly known as Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, their Mercury nominated 2007 album The Bairns was the only British folk album in both the The Guardian and Uncuts best albums of the decade. They followed it in 2009 with Here's The Tender Coming, and 2010 Last. Their many outspoken fans include Radiohead, Portishead, Robert Wyatt, Ben Folds, Elvis Costello, Damon Albarn, Ewan McGregor, Nick Hornby and more.
On Last, The Unthanks continue their predilection for unlikely covers, with interpretations of King Crimsonâ€™s â€œStarlessâ€, Tom Waitsâ€™ â€œNo One Knows Iâ€™m Goneâ€, and a song intended to champion the unheralded British songwriter Jon Redfern.
â€œThey are like the morning dew that hasnâ€™t steamed off yet, they are fresh and new and I really donâ€™t think they know how good they areâ€
â€œthis contemporary folk ensemble makes a breathtaking chamber music of olde English mystery, and bold original adaptations of traditional sources and early British folk-revival covers. An incredible sting-and-singing band.â€
1. Gan To The Kye (Trad / arr. The Unthanks)
2. The Gallowgate Lad (words: Joe Wilson tune: trad [Sally Grey] / arr. The Unthanks)
3. Queen Of Hearts (Trad / arr. The Unthanks)
4. Last (Adrian McNally)
5. Give Away Your Heart (Jon Redfern)
6. No One Knows Iâ€™m Gone (Tom Waits/Kathleen Brennan)
7. My Laddie Sites Ower Late Up (Trad/ arr. The Unthanks)
8. Canny Hobbie Elliot (Trad / arr. The Unthanks)
9. Starless (Cross/Fripp/Wetton/Palmer-James)
10. Close The Coalhouse Door (Alex Glasgow)
11. Last (reprise)
The Unthanks is: Rachel Unthank, Becky Unthank, Niopha Keegan, Adrian McNally and Chris Price.