Unwinding Hours Channel Inner Kubrick

 

Debut from erstwhile
Aereogramme members coming next month.

 

By Blurt Staff

The Unwinding Hours is the new musical project from Craig B and Iain Cook,
former members of Glasgow’s
critically acclaimed and much-loved Aereogramme. Their debut self-titled album,
due March 16 on Chemikal Underground, matches the literate flair of the
song-writing effortlessly matched to the duo’s musical ambition. Avid
cineastes, The Unwinding Hours acknowledge the influence of film on their work
by taking their name from a reference buried deep within Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

 

Aereogramme, of course, had formed in 1998 and released four
albums, concluding with 2007’s My Heart
Has a Wish That You Would Not Go
. An eight vinyl deluxe box set of their
Chemikal Underground material was released early this year.

 

The Unwinding Hours started out as a means for Craig to
record some of his songs with the help of Iain after the demise of Aereogramme,
but with no plans for a commercial release or to play them live. As Iain grew
more excited about the material, The Unwinding Hours became a collaborative
project, with a very different character to the material they recorded as part
of Aereogramme. The album was written and recorded throughout 2008 and 2009, in
Iain’s own Alucard Studios on the south side of Glasgow (only the drums were recorded
elsewhere, by Paul Savage in Chemikal Underground’s Chem19). The recording of
the album was a leisurely process as Iain was busy with other projects throughout
the year so, out of necessity, they only worked on the songs for a few hours a
week or fortnight. As Iain says, “There were no expectations or deadlines,
so it felt like a really enjoyable and relaxed way of trying out new ideas and
seeing if they stuck.”

The album opens with the gorgeous slow-burn of Knut: the longest track
on the album at just under six minutes, it’s an elegant exercise in layered
sounds and propulsive dynamics. Iain explains that “It was only during the
final stages of the mix that we decided to try out vocals on the track and
that’s when it totally came to life for me and also tied the song in
effectively with the rest of the album. I love this one now and I think it’s a
nice way to start the record.” There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone juxtaposes sweet sounding elements like the acoustic guitar and strings with
some very unsettling noise elements. The opening suggestion that
“something’s wrong…” develops gradually until, by the end of the
song and the “Let me out of here, my love…” line, the sweetness is
completely engulfed by wave after wave of noise, the creeping claustrophobia of
a failing relationship.

 

Craig elaborates on the album’s subject matter, saying, “The main themes
throughout the record are of relationships: some ending, some starting, some
going well, some going very, very badly. Traces attempts to capture that
powerful, almost drunken, sensation you feel when a relationship is in its
infancy; Child deals with the bitter end of another.” There is an argument
that wreckage (emotional or otherwise) recurs heavily throughout the course of
the album: Annie Jane is named after a real shipwreck while the closing
track, The Final Hour, emerged from its own period of prolonged upheaval.
Initially recorded in a friend’s Boston studio
during Aereogramme’s last tour of the US, The Final Hour demo was
conceived with the rain hammering down on a dispiriting, traumatic tour and, as
Iain points out, “The original demo definitely reflected that. So much so
that I don’t think Craig even wanted to listen to the song again let alone put
it on the album, but I kept insisting it was a belter and that we should work
on it. The refrain that Craig sings in the latter half of the song “I saw
you…” is one of my favorite things he has written and I wanted the music
to be devastatingly loud and slow.”

Craig and Iain are already talking about starting work on songs for a second
album although there’s no prospect of altering the leisurely process of
evolution that’s been so successful for them on their debut.

 

The band has already announced a March-April tour of the UK and Europe.
Dates plus song samples at their MySpace page: www.myspace.com/theunwindinghours

 

 

[Photo Credit: John Speirs]

 

 

 

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