This second Unthanks album of "diversions" (the first was The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & the Johnsons) is their boldest experiment yet, a collaboration with Yorkshire's celebrated Brighouse and Rastrick Brass Band. It's a risky project, given that the Unthanks have succeeded through the delicate, sometimes eerie singing of sisters Rachel and Becky. But it works: they are never overwhelmed by the stirring brass, despite the exuberant opening to The King of Rome, a song about a man who races pigeons. Other new material includes a sturdy treatment of The Trimdon Grange Explosion, by the 19th-century "pitman poet" Tommy Armstrong, and the lengthy, elaborate, four-part Father's Suite, which includes brass-and-piano compositions from Rachel's husband, Adrian McNally. Best of all are the new brass arrangements of early Unthanks favourites, from the bitter lament Blue Bleezing Blind Drunk to the exquisite Fareweel Regality.
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