The Unthanks – Lines

Album Review | RabbleRouser Music | Review by Allan Wilkinson | Stars: 5/5

Essentially three unique song cycles, threaded together by history, poetry and from female perspectives. If previous projects by The Unthanks have involved large scale productions to include brass bands, strings and even full blown symphony orchestras, Lines pretty much gets back to basics, with emotive vocal performances, subtle arrangements and in the case of Parts Two, the use of the piano Holst wrote the Planets on and Part Three, the piano that originally belonged to Emily Bronte herself; we can only imagine the powerful connection in time and space between the popular 19th century writer and Adrian McNally’s tentative phalanges. Although in terms of distance, the Bronte Parsonage and the Hull docklands are practically neighbours, bookending the county of Yorkshire, the worlds of the Bronte family and Lillian Bilocca’s Headscarf Revolutionaries are worlds apart, yet there’s still the subliminal connection in and between the lines. As is expected, Emily Bronte’s words are eloquently delivered by both Rachel and Becky Unthank accompanied by Adrian’s delicate piano, whilst the guests, including both Sam Lee and Tim Dalling on the ‘middle’ song cycle which traverses the poetry and letters of WWI, brings another fresh dimension to the project. Originally written and performed in 2014 to celebrate its centenary year, World War One focuses on one or two slightly more obscure writers such as Jessie Pope and Teresa Hooley, their words so powerfully and emotively delivered. The arrival of each new project by The Unthanks, whether it be a new band album, a stage or tour production, a sideways diversion or simply an impromptu sing around the piano, it’s always an event. Lines is a three part event that should be heard, absorbed and remembered, beautifully packaged and presented as something to cherish.