Tuesday, January 31, 2012
The Unthanks Give Thanks
If you're a huge fan of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons and you want to let the world know just how big of fans you are what do you do? Well if you're The Unthanks you pay tribute to them in the best way possible, you play their songs and record them for the world to hear. And that’s exactly what they did. Rachel and Becky Unthank recorded The Songs of Robert Wyatt & Antony & The Johnsons Live From The Union Chapel London one rather quiet night in 2010 where they played these songs live and now two years later have just released these recordings.
The Songs of Robert Wyatt & Antony & The Johnsons Live From The Union Chapel London defines what it means to be intimate. These songs are so quietly played and so sparsely arranged that it sounds as if The Unthanks are playing in front of you. The sisters take songs that are already ridiculously fragile and make them even more so. The songs are held together by piano strings, vocal chords, love, and not much else. It's an incredibly moving recording and the emotion that pours out of these girls is stunning.
This is one heck of a live recording and is so quiet you can hear a pin drop. Rachel and Becky got nods from the artists they paid tribute to and in fact Robert Wyatt helped prepare the sisters to play his songs. You can tell this as the songs are brilliantly orchestrated and even though there's only two of them with some accompaniment the album sounds louder than bombs.
I'm generally not a fan of quiet music but there's just something so riveting about The Unthanks and about the tales they weave between songs, how they play these songs, and how genuinely affectionate they are towards them that reels you in. While I might not listen to this every day, it's definitely the sort of thing for a cold lonely winter afternoon. The Songs of Robert Wyatt & Antony & The Johnsons Live From The Union Chapel London as played by The Unthanks is required listening for fans of all the artists involved or anyone that likes a good cry.