The Unthanks Last


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Released 19 Apr. 2011
1. Gan To The Kye
2. The Gallowgate Lad
3. Queen Of Hearts
4. Last
5. Give Away Your Heart
6. No One Knows I'm Gone
7. My Laddie Sits Ower Late Up
8. Canny Hobby Elliott
9. Starless
10. Close The Coalhouse Door
11. Last (Reprise)

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It has been a busy year for The Unthanks. Long tours of Europe and America supporting Here's The Tender Coming, soundtracks for theatre and film, exploratory concerts of music by Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons, collaborations with Charles Hazelwood, Adrian Utley and Paul Morley, visits to Africa with Damon Albarn, Flea and Joan Wasser, presenting TV programmes for BBC4, theatre shows with Colin Firth and Keira Knightley and all along they were plotting and making their most ambitious music to date.
The Mercury nominated 2007 album The Bairns was the only British folk album both in the The Guardian and Uncut's best albums of the decade. If there is only one this next decade, it could be Last. Without doubt the most confident and important Unthanks album to date. The record is named after its title track, written by Unthanks pianist, producer and arranger Adrian McNally. "Let's get it out of the way straight off - the title is not meant to imply that this record is our last!" says Adrian. "The word is meant in its most positive definition, as a call to arms, in terms of the emotional future of mankind and of the earth itself. It's all a bit Pink Floyd in that big picture / disillusionment / alienation kind of way! The song isn't about how great the past is; rather its about asking why the future doesn't look so great.
I hope though, that it doesn't come across as a negative song. Cynicism is often the accusation when impassioned optimism is the intention!". The Unthanks also continue their predilection for unlikely covers, with interpretations of King Crimson's Starless, a Tom Waits song "No One Knows I'm Here", and a song intended to champion the unheralded British songwriter Jon Redfern.
Last was made predominantly at the snowed-under Northumberland farmhouse that is home of Rachel and Adrian. Having made the highly successful Here's The Tender Coming in a studio, the return to home recording might have signaled a move back to the intimacy of their earlier work, but in practice, Last takes on the epic hallmarks of a masterpiece, in terms of the scale and atmosphere of the setting.