Music Review: Unloved – Heartbreak

unloved - new album review

Beauty in the eye of the emboldened

Towards the end of 2016, director Denis Villeneuve released his much heralded movie Arrival based on the short story ‘Story of Your Life’ by Ted Chiang.

The ultimate premise of the movies journey proposed the concept of time being a construct, and rather than it being linear, it was in fact a loop, or indeed the past, present and future naturally coexisted at the same time. In addition to big concept ideas, it tenderly embraced themes of perseverance despite the knowledge and awareness of suffering.
At the beginning of that same year, we saw the release of the album ‘Guilty of Love’ by the band Unloved.

unloved - new album review

Also highly praised (, which equally encapsulated the belief of multiple time lines/periods coexisting in a serine harmony, as the band Jade Vincent, Keefus Cianca and David Holmes with their hyper abilities and talents marinated musical influences from across the decades, emotions and sound spectrums, all guided by the raw heartfelt experiences of what is it is to be human, with it’s highs and profound vulnerabilities, where hurt, healing and acceptance, like time, inhabit the very same moment, with Unloved providing the soundtrack.

It’s three years later and where the previous album felt brave in it’s emotional rawness, the new release ‘Heartbreak’ makes it seem like tentative first steps in comparison to this expansion, ‘Guilty of Love’ was the explosion, this is the rapidly expanding universe, a galactic noir.
The central themes are familiar, loves, hopes, losses but the new accompanying sounds build vast layers of acoustic armour, emotional bereavements are accepted, meditated upon, and released with a new found conviction, cautious defiance and purpose. The opening tracks ‘Heartbreak’ and ‘Love’ are audaciously bombastic in volume, swagger and attitude despite ‘Twenty millions way I’ve learnt to cry’ projecting out of ‘Heartbreak’, strength and fragility being one and the same.
Journeying through the album, there’s a spartan, primal build to ‘Sigh’, before it bursts into vast looping drums and cascading sounds that set you adrift on a sea of almost incoherent emotions, like those times where we heard difficult news and our heads swam away, and our coherence drowned.

Unloved – Heartbreak

Coming out of ‘Sigh’ is effectively breaking into heaven, lulling gentle organ keys, like some soothing church ceremony, with a tale form the Book of Jade being tenderly read from the pulpit.

The gorgeous defiant swagger is back for ‘Devils Angels’ in a sublimely beautiful, sexy, lush and soaring track that blew my heart, mind and soul apart when I heard it live at their recent Hoxton Hall gig. It’s 100% pure Unloved, but enhanced with beats that could have come from Holmes early techno djing years, all times are one.

Similar to a modern dj set from Holmes, variety of tempos gently and naturally slide in side by side as if inspired by David Mancuso himself. And as such the ethereally beautiful ‘Lee’ drifts in as if a gentle caress by a loved one.

The looping techno backbone (with a hint of John Carpenter) is back for ‘Fail We May, Sail We Must’, a wonderful turn of phrase itself, but also enhanced by Unloved flexing their sound and confidence into new/old/broader almost woozy spectrums.

‘Love Lost’, it’s EVERYTHING! Another absolute stand out from the Hoxton Hall show, and with ‘Cry Baby Cry’ are two of the most beautiful songs I’ve ever experienced in my life. It’s hard to believe darkness exists at all when listening to profound creations like this.

‘Crash Boom Bang’ comes crashing in, taking no prisoners, a huge Bondesque theme (in fact I DEMAND that Unloved score the next Bond movie) that echoes of big band and John Barry. So basically FANTASTIC!
Jade has one of the most tender and gorgeous voices I’ve ever heard, completely emotionally exposed, and never more so than on ‘Boy and Girl’ which is heartbreakingly pure in initial simplicity that soon builds with beautiful backing vocals to a flushed hypnotic rapture.

The album closes on the ‘classic’ sound of Unloved with ‘If’, the title itself almost sums up the resonance of what the band is, unrequited moments, the possibilities, the pangs, the hopes, the beliefs, the openness, the painful honesty, the healing, the loves, the losses, the beauty of it all.

The intuitive collaboration that is at the beating heart of Unloved came about from a vast love, talent, appreciation and knowledge of music, movies and storytelling, where the elements were compelled to work with each other. There is pure sincerity at work/play and it just gets better with every new facet and addition. Such integrity will only go from strength to strength as more people become aware of the beauty that is Unloved.

Having provided 27 of their songs to the global hit TV series Killing Eve (one of the best combinations of subject and music I’ve seen in years), it should open the hearts to the global audience they richly deserve. Also, see them live, it was one of the most beautiful experiences I’ve ever had.
10/10 Heartbreak by Unloved is out now, beauty and salvation awaits.

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