For nine albums and over two decades Brett and Rennie Sparks of The Handsome Family have been releasing music that has garnered lofty praise from critics and audiences alike. For instance, Mojo called their 1998 album Through the Trees one of the “ten essential Americana records of all time,” and Uncut declared In the Air “one of the most important records of the 21st century.” While originally from Chicago, the duo now records all of their material in a converted garage studio in their Albuquerque home where their song writing process is that Rennie composes the lyrics while Brett Sparks sets the music and gives voice to his wife's words.
Their newest album, Wilderness, was released May 14th of this year and is a twelve track concept album about wildlife animals, their potential to be destructive, and as such, the parallel capacity of humans. The success of this album is driven by the engaging imagery of Rennie Spark's lyrics which is then amplified by the artful musicianship of the duo. The easy melodies from the vocal and instrumental lines feel both familiar and welcome. I've attached both Owls and Spider as streaming audio for your listening pleasure to this article and below the final audio you can watch the official video for their song Woodpecker. The video was directed by Chris Hefner. Wilderness is available for purchase at Itunes or via their Webpage. You can also stay in touch with The Handsome Family via Twitter and Facebook.