The Unwinding Hours ‘Tour EP2’ (Chemikal Underground Records)
For me, Aereogramme became THE ‘alternative rock’ (awful box to label I know) band of choice for some years. They forged on with an almighty glorious collision of sumptuous soundtracks and brutal metallics; a nomadic place for Craig B’s voice to hang between soft sweet seclusion and untethered full-throated mania, At times listening would become a battle for air against the heady blood-rushing sound. Inhale sharply. After a sad parting of ways and a brief hiatus The Unwinding Hours have put down roots where Craig allows himself to fully occupy a calmer balanced home along with his wingman Iain Cook, another ex-purveyor of said Aereogramme. Now two albums down, The Unwinding Hours is both honed and precise, subtle and at times radio-friendly if only a universal-listening agenda could be garnered… Eyes and ears open please people.
This six-packer is a partner to their newest album Afterlives (one of a number of gems slipping through 2013’s release net), stripped of the latter’s quality-controlled studio-levels, rounded edges and massed-audience potential. The not-really-that-hairy Scots duo bestow us with strummings, carefully pitched shimmering piano and allow Craig’s easy-delivery to gently wind its way through the set. Just as their debut self-titled was mirrored by an EP, Afterlives has its own chill-down. Setting the tone, I dare anyone not to be moved by the opening ‘Miracle’; a pureness of heartfelt words and voice. ‘Isaac’ and ‘Own Me’ allow us to travel further into the soul while there’s a real edge to the love of ‘No Light. Craig’s lyrics are always so full of human-ness in all its range. Fragile, yes. Shattered? No. ‘Promised Land (acoustic)’ is the only song also on Afterlives, and I must admit without its driving percussion, ringing electrics and keyboards is a real loss to the grandiose calling of the album version. But, guess I’d heard that first. Minor quibble over am left with ‘Find My Way Home’. And, well, sublime. “You ran through the darkness I fleshed out”… Need I say more?
Just picture yourself; wrapped to the nines, woolly hatted with headphones under simply standing still gazing over a snow covered Glasgow as on the twilight cover photograph listening to these stunning songs, softly mouthing along with Craig’s vocals. And after 23 minutes you’ll be silent, warmed and ready to press repeat. Frosty breath, moi?