Rock's Backpages Library Rock's Backpages
the online library of pop writing

The Unthanks: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons

Martin Aston, bbc.co.uk, November 2011

ON THE SURFACE, there is little connection between cherished Brit icon Robert Wyatt and cherished icon-in-the-making Antony Hegarty beyond the fact The Unthanks covered a selection of both over two nights at London's Union Chapel in December 2010. But both singer-songwriters are unified by being highly idiosyncratic and intuitively melodic mavericks with a stark, intimate simplicity that often unfolds as luminous ballads. As Unthanks pianist and producer Adrian McNally says of both, "There is never a spare note played or one struck to impress." On top, both songwriters have a very strong political polemic that doesn't overwhelm with sloganeering. How fortunate that The Unthanks come from the same tradition, while Rachel and Becky Unthanks' voices are blessed with that same stark, intimate simplicity. In other words, it's a perfect match.

Total word count of piece: 408

Subscribe

Becoming a member is easy. Membership gives you access to all the thousands of articles in the library.

Click here to go to Subscribe page.

Click here for academic and other group subscriptions.