On the radar: The Unwinding Hours

Most music fans in Scotland would agree that Aereogramme's end was premature. It was doubly so for me, as I had to leave their farewell gig at the QMU early to catch the last train home.

But their fans - especially the loyal ones who did stay and miss the train - will be buzzing at the news that after a lengthy hiatus two members of the triumphant post-rockers - singer Craig B and guitarist Iain Cook - are returning under the name The Unwinding Hours.

As if to tee up this semi-reformation, the Aereogramme song 'Barriers' soundtracked a recent TV advert, taking the cult Glasgow act to a wider audience than they ever had before. Better late than never?

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Singer Craig B thinks it is: "I'm not sure if our record sales have grown at all but what I find interesting is how happy people are that we got used. I think anyone who knew Aereogramme thought we were somehow unlucky to not find success and so to get an advert is a great way for more people to hear what we did. I think the YouTube video has had 241,000 views and that is far more people than we ever played to in our nine-year career."

Far from ending in a blaze of bruised egos and creative differences, Aereogramme broke up after their final album, the presciently titled My Heart Has a Wish That You Would Not Go, failed to haul them up to a higher rung of the ladder. So how does it feel to move on?

"I'm not sure about 'moving on' as such but the chance to work with Iain again after Aereogramme has been very enjoyable since our approach was incredibly relaxed," Craig says. "We weren't aiming for a new band, we just started writing and it slowly developed into a full album."

Sourced from the Under the Radar blog

As he suggests, the new project seems to have arisen naturally after the initial stock-taking period. "I didn't pick up the guitar for nearly a year after we split up," Craig recalls. "I just felt I had nothing else to write but it slowly came back and so I started to record some demos at Iain's studio with no clear aim in mind. We started to collaborate more and the songs started to develop but we were never in any rush to get back into another band so we just kept writing by ourselves."

Only two songs have appeared on The Unwinding Hours' MySpace so far - a demo of 'Solstice', and 'Knut', featured here - but already Craig's vocals are unmistakable, set against a backdrop of slow-building guitar and simple piano patterns. It's more progression than reinvention, as Craig confirms: "There were four people writing in Aereogramme so I'm sure there is a difference but the elements that Iain and I brought haven't changed that much... I think."

Unlike other new bands, the duo's musical CV already runs to several pages, and their former label have confirmed they will release the debut album next year. "Chemikal Underground were supportive from the start," Craig says. "They always said they would be interested in anything we would do and we have had a great relationship with them for years. They just patiently waited on us finishing the album."

With experience also comes a dose of realism for Craig: "I spent years in Aereogramme feeling constantly frustrated at the lack of progress in comparison to the effort everyone was putting into the band. I really don't want to go down that road again. I'm incredibly proud of this new album and I'm happy for it to find it's audience whatever size that might be. Obviously I would love as many people as possible to hear it. We had no expectations when we started this and that has always felt incredibly liberating."

The Unwinding Hours play their first show as part of Celtic Connections at the ABC, Glasgow on 31 January, with a tour pencilled in for later in the year. This time round us East-coasters will just have to take the night bus home.

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