There’s something stunningly beautiful about the third and latest release from The Unthanks, Here’s The Tender Coming. This time around, Becky joins sister Rachel, harmonizing with the breathy vocals that produce the unique, vintage folk sound that we all love from them.
The album starts off “Because He Was a Bonny Lad” and a few minutes of heavenly acapalla between the sisters before boasting a variety of musical accompaniments from Rachel’s husband, Adam McNally, taking over the piano, and Chris Price on guitars. This song also brings in everything from percussions to the ukelele, violin, accordion and mandolin to create a magnificently inspiring yet haunting first song. The album’s 8 minute centerpiece is “Annachie Gordon,” a beautiful tale of the ultimate test of true love over wealth that tugs on every heart string with a plucking of the guitar and the faintly captivating piano.
The Unthanks lighten up their sound a little with their prog-rock infused original song “Lucky Gilchrist,” keeping the folk storytelling true to form in dealing with the importance of life, love and death. Yet the most heartbreaking folk song on the album is the cover of Frank Higgins’s “The Testimony of Patience Kershaw,” which will provoke tears as the sisters sing about the trials and testimony of young Patience working in the coal mines of 1842.
Whether you’re in the mood to reminisce about traditional folk stories of the past, or listen to an album rooted in sharp slicing guitars, deep drum beats, edgy keyboard tracks and every instrument in between, The Unthanks have fashioned something simply glorious that stays with you long after the album ends.