Folk music is currently enjoying an enormous critical and commercial renaissance. It has its own annual awards broadcast on the nation’s favourite radio station, a weekly show on the same station and some of its biggest stars have crossed over into the mainstream charts and consciousness too.
Sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank are one of the scene’s biggest stars, and Mount The Air is their first album of original material since 2011’s Last and as such has been eagerly awaited by connoisseurs of their voice-led folk.
But unlike scene contempories such as Bellowhead, who have become one of the nation’s top live draws across all scenes, the Unthanks’ appeal seems set to remain in the margins.
Mount The Air embraces other styles – the 10+ minute title track is one of several to take in jazz and classical – with producer, and husband of Rachel, Adrian McNally’s orchestration taking much of the attention away from the sisters’ striking vocals. Fans may well adore it; to non-folkies it is likely to be altogether too challenging a listen.
Like this? Try these: Jessica Pratt, On Your Own Love Again; Miles Davis, Sketches of Spain
By Andrew Greenhalgh