Album reviews: The Unthanks “Lines”

Northumbria’s The Unthanks are partial to a themed project and have a wide-ranging fanbase to show for their adventurous creativity.

Their latest box set, Lines, brings together three separate projects, all inspired by poetry, and is one of their most suitable and beautiful ventures to date, playing to their strengths in storytelling, atmosphere and bittersweet sentiment.Part One: Lillian Bilocca is their recording of the music from The Last Testament of Lillian Bilocca, actress Maxine Peake’s site specific theatre piece about the eponymous activist’s campaign for improved safety at sea following Hull’s triple trawler disaster of 1968. Continue reading

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The Emily Brontë Song Cycle: wandering in the wuthering heights

Folk band the Unthanks and Adrian McNally have made an audio soundtrack pairing music with the writer’s poems as the listener walks the landscape of West Yorkshire. What is it like?

It begins with a flock of birds taking raucous flight; and even though there are no crows to be seen above the heather-flecked moors around the Brontë Parsonage at Haworth, it’s difficult to discern whether this is reality, or a fantasy. I’m immersed in the latest heritage project dedicated to the literary family: a unique audio experience that combines Emily’s poetry, folk music and West Yorkshire’s grand landscape to produce something quite incredible.

The Emily Brontë Song Cycle, an audio production pairing Emily’s poems and music by folk group the Unthanks, was commissioned by the Brontë Society, which runs the sisters’ old family home the Parsonage as a hugely successful museum. The last couple of years has seen a number of Brontë bicentennial anniversaries; this year marked marked 200 years since the birth of Emily, best known for her only novel, Wuthering Heights. Continue reading