Album: The Unthanks, Last (RabbleRouser/EMI)

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The Independent Culture

That's "last" as in endure, rather than final, with The Unthanks' affinity for traditional folk songs augmented here by bandleader Adrian McNally's haunting title-track, a regretful acknowledge-ment of how we renege on our duties as merely the current generation of a long, unending line.

"On and on and on we go, and back and back and back," sing Rachel and Becky over an arrangement that recalls Dark Side of the Moon, the sombre chill of the music warmed by their tender voices. The tone throughout is fairly melancholy, with mournful strings shrouding "The Gallowgate Lad", "Gan to the Kye" and King Crimson's "Starless", latest of their unusual cover versions. But it's Alex Glasgow's lament "Close the Coalhouse Door" that packs the most powerful punch, the cyclical piano like a minimalist murmur behind Becky's poignant delivery.

DOWNLOAD THIS Close the Coalhouse Door; Gan to the Kye; Last