The turning cogs below the surface of English folk
[a]Laura Marling[/a]’s whispery folk may have sidled into the mainstream, but [a]The Unthanks[/a] have been quietly subverting English folk music across three previous albums. [b]‘Last’[/b] retains the intimacy of their previous recordings, but it’s augmented with more orchestral flourishes.
There’s no stodge here though, as the album, especially the haunting [b]‘Close The Coalhouse Door’[/b] and covers of [a]Tom Waits[/a] and [b]King Crimson[/b], proves the mix of Rachel and Becky’s voices to be one of the true wonders of 21st-century music. Rachel’s wispy rasp in particular has the ominous beauty of a lick of smoke under the doorframe at 3am. [b]‘The Bairns’[/b] remains their classic, but [b]‘Last’[/b] is, as they say, by no means least.