While they are not the most surprising collaboration we have seen in recent years, the coming together of The Unthanks' Rachel Unthank and Maxïmo Park's Paul Smith does offer up some questions as to how these two distinctive names would work in unison. With the former is a folk music veteran and the latter an indie-rock icon, it sounds as though there would have been plenty of compromises over their style and direction. But for Unthank : Smith, they have managed to make something work on their debut album 'Nowhere And Everywhere', a record that sounds like nothing you would have expected.
From the very start, 'Nowhere And Everywhere' projects itself as an extremely minimal release within the traditional folk guise. With instrumentation as sparse as possible, their joint vocals remain the floating hallmark of this new collection, coming together in a beautifully serene way. Much like what Robert Plant and Alison Krauss achieved on their joint material, Rachel Unthank and Paul Smith have this wonderfully tender harmony between their voices that hones a beautifully warm and enticing listening experience.
While it may not have the same innovative spirit the duo have showcased in their formative groups, 'Nowhere And Everywhere' still makes for an enjoyable insight into their driven aesthetics. Lofty and progressive in equal measure, Unthank : Smith are a collaboration that fit together better than most.