The Unwinding Hours

The Unwinding Hours

Written by: TL on 06/03/2011 20:19:28

One of the great things about facebook is, that if you're willing to make your feed non-exclusive to the trivial things your friends post about, you can keep yourself updated with news from your favourite bands simply by liking them. Taking advantage of this increasingly, I recently saw a band I've 'liked' - I don't remember which one right now - recommending another band called The Unwinding Hours, and given that I wasn't too busy at the time, I decided to check them out.

As it turns out, The Unwinding Hours is the collaborative project of Craig B. and Iain Cook, both former members of now defunct Scottish post-rock outfit Aereogramme, and this self-titled record is the duo's first release under this name. While I am admittedly almost totally unfamiliar with the work of Aereogramme, from listening to a few tracks on myspace, I'll say that fans of theirs can safely check this out as well.

What The Unwinding Hours are seemingly all about, is taking small melodies, mostly delivered by guitar, and slowly and gradually wrapping them up in layers of complimentary sounds from piano keys, strings, feedback, percussion to name a few things. The guitar and piano occasionally switch roles, providing variety, and meanwhile, singer/guitarist Craig B. imbues the songs with frail, passionate vocals, that remind me slightly of Snow Patrol's Gary Lightbody, only B. is more subtle and restrained here.

The cool thing I find about this band is, that much like the recent debut album by the similar sounding Union Sound Set, them playing post-rock-type music isn't used as an excuse to bore the listener to death before a song gets going. Although things never venture outside of medium tempo, progressions in the soundscape are constantly apparent, and while songs sound alike, they clearly aren't born of the same predictable formula.

"There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone" and "Peaceful Liquid Shell" are both examples of genre-typical, yet well-written songs, with the background instrumentation gaining gradually in intensity, eventually drowning out the songs' signature melodies in a monumental crescendo, before vanishing all of the sudden, leaving only a final few bars of the melody that lead the listener into the song to begin with. Others, like "Child", develop much more subtly, and feeling time pass by while listening to it, will give you a sense of why the band is named as it is.

Personally, I have my favourite in album-ender "The Final Hour", which jumps from a mere guitar/singing arrangement, up to a simultaneous battering of the drums and guitar while B. repeats the song's refrain and feedback conjures up a storm that seems the albums' most potent manifestation of catharsis. By the time this song unwinds, the same I realize, has happened to a truly fine album, and despite the fact that I occasionally wish that B. and Cook would let go a bit more, making just a little more noise, I can't but recognize that this is among the better albums I've heard lately. I'm only sorry it took me this long to discover it.


Download: The Final Hour, There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone, Child, Tightrope
For The Fans Of: Aereogramme, Union Sound Set, Mew's "Comforting Sounds"

Release Date 15.10.2010
Chemikal Underground

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