Born out of the embers of popular Scottish alt rockers Aereogramme, The Unwinding Hours have crafted a debut album that doesn't stray too far from the epic and ethereal post-rock-scapes that won them acclaim in their first incarnation. Prone to earnest ruminations on love and heartbreak, as well as explosive bursts of feedback-drenched electronic vistas, The Unwinding Hours represent a more disciplined version of their former selves; the duo sounds like the perfect union of Sigur Ros and Sunny Day Real Estate.
The album opens with the gorgeous slow-burn of 'Knut': the longest track on the album at just under six minutes, it’s an elegant exercise in layered sounds and propulsive dynamics. Iain explains that: 'It was only during the final stages of the mix that we decided to try out vocals on the track and that’s when it totally came to life for me and also tied the song in effectively with the rest of the album. I love this one now and I think it's a nice way to start the record.' 'There Are Worse Things Than Being Alone' juxtaposes sweet sounding elements like the acoustic guitar and strings with some very unsettling noise elements. The opening suggestion that 'something's wrong...' develops gradually until, by the end of the song and the 'Let me out of here, my love...' line, the sweetness is completely engulfed by wave after wave of noise, the creeping claustrophobia of a failing relationship.
So we touch on the subject matter that forms the beating heart of the album, something Craig is happy to clarify: 'The main themes throughout the record are of relationships: some ending, some starting, some going well, some going very, very badly. Traces attempts to capture that powerful, almost drunken, sensation you feel when a relationship is in its infancy; Child deals with the bitter end of another.' There is an argument that wreckage (emotional or otherwise) recurs heavily throughout the course of the album: Annie Jane is named after a real shipwreck while the closing track, 'The Final Hour', emerged from its own period of prolonged upheaval. Initially recorded in a friend's Boston studio during Aereogramme’s last tour of the US, 'The Final Hour' demo was conceived with the rain hammering down on a dispiriting, traumatic tour and, as Iain points out, 'the original demo definitely reflected that. So much so that I don't think Craig even wanted to listen to the song again let alone put it on the album, but I kept insisting it was a belter and that we should work on it. The refrain that Craig sings in the latter half of the song "I saw you..." is one of my favourite things he has written and I wanted the music to be devastatingly loud and slow.'