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“The Unthanks are capable of such beauty that sometimes I can hardly bear to listen to them.” Martin Freeman
“There are few times when you discover a band and they stalk immediately to the heart of everything you love and hold dear.” Maxine Peake “They run from the very root of folk music to the very tip of the branch.” Elvis Costello “It’s quite a rare thing now. They’ve really got everything you could want from music. And I’m very fussy.” Robert Wyatt
With their 11 piece band, The Unthanks mark the Autumn release of their new album, Sorrows Away. The Unthanks have been described as “a take on tradition that flips so effortlessly between jazz, classical, ambient and post-rock, it makes any attempt to put a label on them a waste of time”. Having previewed Sorrows Away at shows this Spring, the response from live audiences is an early indication that the record is at the very least going to breeze the daunting task of following up their BBC Folk Album Of The Year 2015, Mount The Air. Described as “an epic that Sigur Rós or Elbow would be proud of” by Drowned in Sound, and “as good as it gets… music that asks you to consider everything you know and un-think it” by Folk Radio, Mount The Air was awarded 5 stars by The Telegraph, R2, fRoots and Songlines, and 4 by Mojo, Q, Uncut, The Times, Independent and Guardian.
The Unthanks tells stories that capture children. They make music cutting edge enough to be BBC 6Music regulars. They can equally be found on Radios 2, 3 and 4, reframing history and drawing together the worlds of folk, jazz, orchestral, electronic and rock music. The believability of their storytelling is admired by some of our best storytellers - Mackenzie Crook, Maxine Peake, Nick Hornby, Martin Freeman, Robert Wyatt, Charles Hazelwood, Ben Myers and David Mitchell, to name a few. Billed as more joyful and uplifting than previous Unthanks records, Sorrows Away is perhaps both the pinnacle and yet just the latest in their story so far.
In the seven intervening years since Mount The Air, The Unthanks have scaled up to selfcomposed projects with The Royal Liverpool Philharmonic Orchestra and Charles Hazelwood’s Army of Generals, and right down to their roots for the unaccompanied live record, Diversions Vol 5. They’ve created song cycles from Emily Bronte’s poetry on her original piano, created site specific theatre with Maxine Peake, paid an entire album and 8 track EP’s worth of devotion to Molly Drake, and created the light and the dark in soundtracks for 6 hours’ worth of Mackenzie Crook’s beautiful BBC adaptation of the Worzel Gummidge books.