Rachel and Becky Unthank are sisters, born seven and a half years apart, who grew up in Ryton, Tyne and Wear. Rachel graduated from Glasgow University and Becky went to Manchester Metropolitan University.
Their new album Mount the Air, released in February 2015, received a five-starred review in The Daily Telegraph. Reviewer Helen Brown described the album as "a slow, swirling affair that mixes original material with traditional tales. Underpinned by McNally’s cool, fluid piano it’s simultaneously ancient and fresh." In a four-starred review for The Financial Times, David Honigmann said: "Once a bleak Northumbrian chamber folk outfit, the Unthanks have reinvented themselves on a symphonic scale, as witness the 10-minute title track, ushered in on harps and with an orchestration that recalls Gil Evans’s work for Miles Davis." Robin Denselow, in a four-starred review for The Guardian, said: "This is a return to the gentle melancholia of Last, and while there are fine vocals from the Unthank sisters, the dominant figure is Rachel’s husband, Adrian McNally, who plays keyboards and percussion, and produced and wrote much of the music... It’s a lush, often exquisite set". Teddy Jamieson, writing in the Sunday Herald, said: "The Unthanks return with an album that takes the folk tradition the sisters grew up on and sails it into wilder waters... Folk's storytelling tradition is still very much at the heart of this album. But what thrills here is the sense of scale at play in the music, the unrushed, easeful way the musicians stretch into songs, let them linger without ever overstaying their welcome. That and the earthy humanity of the sisters' voices.