Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Unthanks, Diversions, Volume I: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony and the Johnsons

The Unthanks, those melifluous dual sister-singers from England are quite more than OK in my book. I've reviewed a number of their previous four albums on these pages. The fifth is something a bit different than their usual Anglo folk excursions--in that it centers around contemporary "art song" if you will. Diversions Volume 1: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony and the Johnsons (Rough Trade) is just that. It's a live concert with half devoted to the Johnsons and half Mr. Wyatt. There's a band with strings added and that gives a nice carpeting to the Unthanks' lovely renditions.

I am not exactly overly familiar with Antony and the Johnsons' songs but they sound rather nice. Robert Wyatt of course has written some wonderful songs over his career and the Unthanks cover a good number. The uniquely plaintive vocal instruments of the Unthanks are well served by the music, and the music is well served by the Unthanks' vocal style. So it's good for both. And it's good for the listener.

A beautiful concert and another significant notch in the Unthanks discography. Very recommended.

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