After the release of their debut album in 2010, a number of European tours and support slots with Idlewild, The Twilight Sad and Biffy Clyro, The Unwinding Hours made it known they would take their time writing and recording any new material. Craig went back to university to study Theology and Sociology while Iain concentrated on production and recording in his studio on the south side of Glasgow. However, at least once a week, Craig would bring new demos for them both to work on and so their sophomore effort slowly took shape.
Spurred on by a new found excitement for study, Craig claims this had a huge influence on the writing process. “I felt I was finally able to learn and absorb as much as I could but also use it to be able to articulate what I had been trying to express for years. Working with Iain at our own pace allowed us to experiment, try out new ideas and make sure we didn’t repeat ourselves”.
“We tried to tie ourselves to different time signatures, made some songs specifically guitar orientated, made others more synth based but also stripped it all back when necessary. We basically just had a ball throwing ideas around. You can hear a kitchen sink being battered by a piece of metal near the end of the first song so yes, we had a lot of fun.”
Personal responsibility, the fire of knowledge and experience, wrestling with belief and moving onwards are all themes that appear throughout the album. Musically, The Unwinding hours have also moved forward which the immediate and driving album opener “Break” makes clear. Influences such as the Flaming Lips, Max Richter, The Cocteau Twins and even Laurie Anderson can be heard in the heartfelt, questioning anthem of “The Promised Land”, the minimal but cinematic “Saimaa” and the complex layers of “Say My Name”.
The album artwork was taken from an etching by an American artist called Jack Baumgartner. It depicts the biblical story of Jacob wrestling with the Angel. Craig explains, “We thought Jack’s depiction was perfect for the front cover. I love the fact that the biblical story is so enigmatic and open to so much interpretation. These stories, like all things capable of stirring the imagination, continue to have an afterlife.”
With a strongly held belief that an album should be consistently engaging from start to finish, The Unwinding Hours have produced just that and have plans to continue making music for as long as it remains possible. They just might take their time doing so.