The Unwinding Hours - Afterlives (4 stars)

A new pinnacle in 14 year song-writing partnership, with symphonic guitars, trembling vocals and majestic melodies

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The Unwinding Hours - Afterlives

Where the buzz surrounding Iain Cook’s box-fresh electro-pop band Churches proves the immediate wonder reinvention can do a seasoned songwriter, this second album by he and Craig B’s post-Aereogramme group The Unwinding Hours reminds us that exceptional music can also arrive by steady process. Afterlives is a new pinnacle in the pair’s now 14-year songwriting partnership: a record that gets all their established signatures – symphonic guitars, trembling vocals, majestic melodies and plenty of harsh post-rock noise – plus a few new ones besides all singing together in marvellous harmony.

Opener ‘Break’ charges out of the gate loud and stirring; ‘The Promised Land’ is a more ambient highlight that builds gradually to its peak with almost unbearable tension. From ‘Skin on Skin’s’ groggy synth-pulse to, at one point, literally the sound of a kitchen sink getting battered, everything feels expertly measured.

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