Release Date: Jul 16, 2012
Record label: Ninja Tune
It came as no surprise to read that one of the members of Grasscut scores film and television. Though a connection to dirt, earth and plant life would generally create a grounding experience, Unearth really sounds like an extended sound clip from a 30-second spot. The duo did bury 10 boxes with tapes and Walkmen around England; however, containing a track and “shadow version of the same place.” Grandiose, theatrical and picturesque, it’s not to say the album isn’t beautiful, but comes off as somewhat contrived.
Unearth, the sophomore outing from the Ninja Tune-approved, ambient steampunk-pop duo of Andrew Phillips and Marcus O'Dair, presents itself as a sort of travelogue, with each cut paying tribute to a unique British location. There's even a contest involved, with coded, individual cassettes containing alternate versions of the ten tracks, strewn about the country and yielding various prizes. All promotion aside, Unearth boasts enough charms on its own, offering up ten enigmatic, audio time capsules that strike a winning, oddball balance between the cool, Krautrock sheen of Kraftwerk, the naturalistic, glitch-filled hum of the Books, and the melodious pop stylings of early Orchestral Maneuvers in the Dark.