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It’s hard to imagine a British folk outfit with fans like Radiohead, Portishead, Robert Wyatt, Ben Folds, Ewan McGregor and Nick Hornby, but The Unthanks occupy a unique place in music. Influenced as much by the minimalist eccentricity of Steve Reich, Antony & The Johnsons, Robert Wyatt and Miles Davis, as they are by the traditional music of the North East of Eng- land where sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank grew up, back home The Unthanks have estab- lished themselves as the most innovative and critically acclaimed folk band in modern history. Formerly known as Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, their second album The Bairns (2007), nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, was recently the only British folk album to appear in The Best Albums of the Decade in both Uncut magazine and The Observer (The Guardian on Sunday). The Unthanks have just completed a sold out 42 date UK tour in support of Here’s The Tender Coming (London show - Shepherds Bush Empire), on which they unveiled a new line-up featuring a kaleidescope of instruments including string quartet, trumpet, marim- ba, dulcitone, chord organ, piano, guitar, marimba, double bass, drums and vocal harmonies from the whole band. Known for their timeless, unsentimental and quietly subversive tales of loss, fear, booze, brawls, abuse and sorrow, siblings Rachel and Becky Unthank are hon- est, young storytellers outside of time, forging links between folk worlds old, new and other. Selling out shows all over Europe and Australia, in the US and Canada, The Un- thanks have a glowing New York Times review and a tour support last summer with Ben Folds under their belts, but otherwise are looking forward to relatively untested wa- ters with Rough Trade, hoping to become a British counterpart to the leftfield folk lean- ings of Sufjan Stevens, Bonnie Prince Billy (who they cover on The Bairns) and Fleet Foxes. “They are like the morning dew that hasn’t steamed off yet, they are fresh and new and I really don’t think they know how good they are” Robert Wyatt
It's hard to imagine a British folk outfit with fans like Radiohead, Portishead, Robert Wyatt, Ben Folds, Ewan McGregor and Nick Hornby, but The Unthanks occupy a unique place in music. Influenced as much by the minimalist eccentricity of Steve Reich, Antony & The Johnsons, Robert Wyatt and Miles Davis, as they are by the traditional music of the North East of England where sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank grew up, back home The Unthanks have established themselves as the most innovative and critically acclaimed folk band in modern history. Formerly known as Rachel Unthank & The Winterset, their second album The Bairns (2007), nominated for the Mercury Music Prize, was recently the only British folk album to appear in The Best Albums of the Decade in both Uncut magazine and The Observer (The Guardian on Sunday).
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