The last ever show I played as The Kays Lavelle was supporting The Unwinding Hours at Electric Circus in Edinburgh. Not only were they some of the nicest people I had the pleasure of sharing a stage with but they were absolutely stunning live. Their debut album, born from the ashes of the amazing Aereogramme, was simply brilliant. Their absence in the past two years appears to be have been for a number of reasons – Craig B’s studying of Theology being one of these reasons – and they have been greatly missed. But thankfully they are now back with their follow up record ‘Afterlives’.
Second records – though it’s hard to call it that in some senses – are always the trickiest ones. Continue with more of what made the first so appealing, do things different just enough to retain your fans yet pull in new ones, or go completely off kilter. The Unwinding Hours opt for more of the same done differently – in my opinion – which makes a nice balance between the options listed above. Whilst the debut record opened with the repetitive, powerful and off kilter ‘Knut’, and often drifted into the more progy spectrum, album opener ‘Break’ is immediate pop more reminiscent of Aereogrammes final album ‘My Heart Has a Wsih that you Would Not Go’ than the debut Unwinding Hours record.
I want to say this record is more immediate than the debut. But I don’t know if that’s necessarily true. There are moments from this record that could easily fit on the debut such as the stunningly beautiful ‘The Dogs’, where Craig B’s voice is at its most delicate and fragile. And like the first record, it is often those moments that are the most rewarding. Yes they do loud well, the guitars of Ian Cook on ‘Break’ and the constant pounding bass on a number of the tracks being case and point. But it is the beauty of that vocal that more often than not make The Unwinding Hours perfect. And I do mean that. I struggle to think of a more perfect band in Scotland at the moment. Brilliant on record and live, can you really ask for more than that?
Unlike Dan Deacon, reviewed earlier, this is not ground breaking. In many respects it’s pretty safe. But sometimes safe hands are the best hands. When I receive an album by The Unwinding Hours I do not expect challenging. I expect quality. And so far that has been the case. Two albums in and the song writing bar is set. Let’s hope they don’t wait another 2 and half years to release album three. But if they do I am sure I won’t be disappointed.
You can check out The Unwinding Hours here. Enjoy.