It is a delight to discover that one of our favourite bands, the wonderful cult duo of Brett and Rennie Sparks, aka The Handsome Family will soon return with their tenth studio album Unseen. It is out via one of our favourite labels Loose, on the 16th September.
The album continues The Handsome Family’s embrace of things beyond easy view: the slow dive of the sun, enormous bugs awakening in thorny yards, sirens and coyotes that cry out to the purple sky, a tribute to William Crookes who built the first vacuum tube in 1875 (hoping to detect spirits from unseen dimensions), bleached desert bones, blackjack losers – you get the picture I’m sure.
The first track from it is the wonderful Gold, inspired by an incident when a bunch of twenty-dollar bills blew in Brett’s face in a parking-lot dust storm. It is a modern classic murder ballad set against a backdrop of “wide empty streets, the air shaking with heat.” The track paints typically intense images of a protagonist, with snake tattoos, a ski mask, and gun shot wounds – all the result of feeling “hungry to do something mean”.
Classic Handsome Family. Great to have them back.