I first became aware of The Handsome Family sometime around 1997 or so when the drummer in my college band blasted the tune “Moving Furniture Around” from their 1994 debut Odessa. I went on to hear them on and off throughout the years on the local Americana radio show (Red Bank Bar & Grille show) which aired on the college radio station. Songs such as “Drunk By Noon,” “In the Air,” and “So Much Wine” made it to my IPod and I always enjoyed hearing Brett Sparks’ doubled vocals (high and low) croon through my speakers with his wife, Rennie’s, fantastical lyrics.
On their recent release, Unseen, longtime fans will not be disappointed as tracks like “Gold” and “Tiny Tina” continue to mine imagery that would be right at home in a Tim Burton flick or a Grimms’ fairy tale. The instrumentation is sparse and tight and the songs are perfect for a dreary day drive and should be a delightful fall release for that goth-loving-Americana individual in your life.
If you’re new to the Family, it won’t hurt to start with Unseen and work your way backwards through the impressively dark catalog.
RIYL: blood, Steven King, gray
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