Handsome Family – Honey Moon

January 01, 1970





the release of their debut record in 1995 (Odessa) the Handsome Family
(married couple Brett and Rennie Sparks) have explored the depths of the human
soul with songs about drifters, murderers, and even Aunt Barbara “who went
crazy in the 70’s, wrote poems to Jimmy Carter but forgot to feed her kids”
(from “Lake Geneva on 1996’s Milk and Scissors) and on this, record #8,
they do not disappoint. This  record was written to celebrate their 20
years of marriage and as someone who has been married for not even half that
long I toast them for their longevity – and the music, too.  The band’s
music has been called Gothic Americana and that seems as good a place to start
as any, Brett writes the music and sings most of the sings while Rennie writes
the lyrics (she doesn’t forget the dark humor) and they have rounded up a batch
of terrific musicians in their adopted hometown of Albuquerque, New Mexico
(where they moved to several years ago after many years in Chicago).


songs on Honey Moon are just a gorgeously haunting as anything they have
done previously. The opener “Linger, Let Me Linger” adds some lovely cello to
the proceedings (which already include Brett’s rich baritone) while “Little
Sparrows’ adds some zippy pedal steel which gives it a completely different
feel. “When You Whispered” is pure Carter Family country and the nearly perfect,
“A Thousand Diamond Rings” is the record’s best song (that has a murky,
Calexico-ish feel to it but these guys were doing this stuff long before
Calexico).  Yet another terrific chapter in a book that I hope these guys
never finish.


“A Thousand Diamond Rings”, “Linger, Let Me Linger”,
 “When You Whispered” TIM HINELY



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