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Review: The Unthanks - Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards
Album Cover - Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards
Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards
 Artist: The Unthanks
 Album: Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards
 Date of Release: 2012/11/05
 Label: RabbleRouser Music (US: 101 DISTRIBUTION)
 Cat. No.: RRM011
 Country of Release: UK
 Genre/s: World | Folk

 Sub-Genre/s: Contemporary, Experimental, English, Anglo, British
 Type: Studio
   Time: 41:29
   Date of Review: 2012/10/10
   Web Site:
   Sample Track

Purchasing Info

Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards

To be released on 5th November, The Unthanks' Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards makes it three albums in less than a year for the glorious 'miserable buggers.'

Songs From The Shipyards is as different from the first two 'Diversions' volumes as they are from each other. It is a studio album, a selection of the best material from their live soundtrack to a moving and beautiful film about the shipbuilding industry of the same title, made by the acclaimed north eastern film maker Richard Fenwick. Unlike the two previous volumes, this features only the core band of Rachel and Becky Unthank, Niopha Keegan, Adrian McNally and Chris Price, with the exception of guests Julian Sutton on melodeon and Keith Hill on vibes on The Romantic Tees. However, Songs From The Shipyards remains true to form in being predominantly gloriously miserable. After all, life just wouldn't be right if we couldn't be at least a bit miserable, would it?

For anybody with even slight historical knowledge about the British shipbuilding industry, the album will paint a fairly graphic story and might give the plot of the film away. (Hence, it is being released only after the tour taking place this month, although it will be available at tour dates.) Several tracks utilise background sounds, as well as one a vocal loop, to great effect. Some are complete versions where the live soundtrack might only have used a couple of verses, while others are exactly as they were performed for the soundtrack. The order of the songs is also slightly different.

In many ways, Songs From The Shipyards is the most spontaneous and intimate sounding Unthanks album yet. Of course, there is also the usual Unthanks perfection, but one takes that for granted by now. One can only marvel at this gorgeous album. And wonder, what will The Unthanks come up with next?

The packaging is again a wonderful digipak, which seems to be replacing the ghastly jewel case more and more all round. This in itself makes the CD a much more attractive buy than digital download. The cover is an interesting black and white photograph that seems to date from about the early second half of the 20th century, judging by the fashion. It appears to be a scene from a pub, and fits the album to perfection.

Consistency is another thing one can take for granted with any Unthanks album. Songs From The Shipyards is absolutely riveting rather than merely compelling. As soon as it finishes playing, one wants to play this album all over again. And again. Its miserable beauty is simply irresistible. The smell of sweat, grime and steel, of pain and hardship permeates through this brilliant work. Another exquisite album from this glorious band.

The Unthanks' Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards is an album one cannot help falling in love with and should be a must have for any true music lover, let alone for any folk aficionado. A priceless gem!

© 2012 Rainlore's World of Music/Rainlore. All rights reserved.

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Track List:

 1. The Romantic Tees (Prelude) (Adrian McNally) - 1:33
 2. A Great Northern River (Graeme Miles) - 3:40
 3. Black Trade (Jez Lowe) - 4:36
 4. Fairfield Crane (Words Archie Fisher, music Bobby Campbell) - 1:52
 5. Big Steamers (words Rudyard Kipling, music Peter Bellamy; arr. The Unthanks) - 5:19
 6. All In A Day (Alex Glasgow) - 3:24

 7. The Romantic Tees - 9:43
   I. The Romantic Tees (Adrian McNally / Chris Price, words and voice of Graeme Miles)
  II. Tyne Slides By (Alex Glasgow)
 III. The Looking Back Song (Johnny Handle)

 8. Shipbuilding (words Declan Patrick Aloysius McManus, music Clive William Langer) - 3:46
 9. Monkey Dung Man (Jez Lowe) - 2:06
10. Taking On Men (Jez Lowe) - 1:27
11. Only Remembered (John Tams) - 3:55

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Rachel Unthank - vocals
Becky Unthank - vocals
Niopha Keegan - violin, vocals
Adrian McNally - piano, , harmonium, drum, vocals
Chris Price - guitar, bass, vocals

Guests on 'The Romantic Tees':
Julian Sutton - melodeon
Keith Hill - vibraphone


Purchasing Info:

Diversions Vol. 3 - Songs From The Shipyards can be purchased from:
Amazon UK - soon


iTunes - soon

Other online sources and major CD stores from 5th November 2012

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