The Handsome Family: Honey Moon (UN SPK)

 |   |  1 min read

The Handsome Family: A Thousand Diamond Rings
The Handsome Family: Honey Moon (UN SPK)

Because we're more used to hearing this husband and wife duo of Brett and Rennie Sparks in a dourly poetic and dark mood, this album's prevailing sentiments of optimism (as epitomised by its recurrent images from Nature and the themes of love) comes as something of surprise.

There is still that melancholy oldtime music sensibility with banjo, lap steel, violin and so on but -- as with Bonnie Prince Billy's The Letting Go and Lie Down in the Light -- the world seems a brighter place. And although (as always) mundane images of world of today (cars, plastic bags, paper cups rolling down the windy street) impose themselves, there is also the chipper feel of the ballads here delivered as if they were standing around the front parlour piano of an evening and exchanging musical pleasantries.

In some places, The Loneliness of Magnets notably, this almost borders on parody and you'd be forgiven for thinking they were having you on. But it seems the pair are celebrating 20 years of marriage so maybe they've decided this dirty world ain't so bad after all.

It is customarily quirky in the lyric department, but some songs like June Bugs ("I want to kiss you in thickets and dripping wet glades") and the lovely A Thousand Diamond Rings (celebrating the bright beauty of the ordinary) there is a directness which is quite sweet.

Not a patch on their earlier Last Days of Wonder, but "interesting" -- and maybe like those recent Bonnie Prince Billy albums, this may attract more attention than the glummer-than-thou mood of previous albums. 

Share It

Your Comments

post a comment

More from this section   Music articles index

Tweed: High-Brow Blues (Southbound)

Tweed: High-Brow Blues (Southbound)

Although this Auckland-based trio bill themselves as alternative-folk, grey-haired Anglofolk followers will hear in them something which was once mainstream acoutsic folk, back in the days when... > Read more

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

Antony and the Johnsons: Swanlight (Spunk)

This fourth album by Antony confirms what many already suspect, that a little of this divine, sublime voice can go a long way. All that high drama and quivering vocals, the allusive lyrics, the... > Read more

Elsewhere at Elsewhere

THE MUSIC MANAGERS FORUM AWARDS (2017): Hats off to those behind the scenes

THE MUSIC MANAGERS FORUM AWARDS (2017): Hats off to those behind the scenes

This time a year ago Elsewhere interviewed Teresa Paterson about the work of the Music Managers Forum, an industry organisation of people dedicated to improving the professionalism of music... > Read more

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND takes in big colonial history in Algeria

GUEST WRITER SARAH JANE ROWLAND takes in big colonial history in Algeria

When Outside the Law (aka Hors-la-Loi) by the French/Algerian writer-director Rachid Bouchareb screened at Cannes in 2010 around 1200 people, revved up by a right wing politician, gathered to... > Read more