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The Unthanks 

Diversions Vol 1: The Songs of Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons (Rough Trade)

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The Unthanks sisters perform this tribute in a semi-classical setting at Union Chapel in London, England. Their disarming humour saves proceedings from becoming overly reverent. The six songs of Antony Hegarty are pretty but slight, leaving a notion that it's an alien androgynous voice driving his appeal. The Robert Wyatt segment is another matter. Nine songs are all from his career post-Soft Machine, heard heretofore in a relatively whiney tone. The Unthanks somehow add both sweetness and rage. “Out of the Blue” is for the victims of civilian bombings. The sisters’ declarative “You have planted everlasting hatred in my heart!” may disrupt future passive absorption of the evening news.

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Vol 25, No 20
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