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The Handsome Family – Unseen (2016) [Official Digital Download 24bit/48kHz]

The Handsome Family – Unseen (2016)
FLAC (tracks) 24 bit/48 kHz | Time – 42:09 minutes | 497 MB | Genre: Alternative
Studio Masters, Official Digital Download – Source: Q0buz | Front Cover | © Loose Music

The Handsome Family is an alternative country and Americana duo consisting of husband and wife Brett and Rennie Sparks formed in Chicago, Illinois, and currently based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. They are perhaps best known for their song “Far from Any Road” from the album “Singing Bones”, which was used as the main title theme for the first season of HBO’s 2014 crime drama True Detective. The band’s 10th album, “Unseen”, was released in September 2016, the first new release on the band’s own label and through long-time label Loose in Europe.

We live in a fallen world, and Brett Sparks has devoted his life to documenting the sadness and disappointment that is our lot in life. Or at least his lot in life; when the Handsome Family, the musical project Sparks leads with his wife, Rennie Sparks, recorded an album of love songs (2009’s Honey Moon), he still found ways to make the experience sound dour and slightly puzzling. The less joyous experiences that dominate 2016’s Unseen, the duo’s 11th studio album, hardly give Sparks much cause for a happier tone. In short, the Handsome Family have once again presented us with a handful of sketches from life’s gloomy side, but if Brett Sparks is no Mary Sunshine, he remains a uniquely talented songwriter, and Unseen finds he’s working near the top of his game. Sparks is a splendid storyteller with a grand sense of the significant detail; you can almost feel the bullet in the gut of the luckless thief in “Gold,” the heartburn from the greasy casino buffet in “The Silver Light,” and the mingled skepticism and wonder as he peruses a circus sideshow in “Tiny Tina.” Sparks even imagines a time when the recent past seemed like a golden age in “Back in My Day,” declaring, “We had maps that unfolded back in my day/You could drink from the river, we had gods made of clay.” Sparks’ craggy voice has always been a good match for his songs, but his vocals are more agile here than on most of his previous work, and if Rennie comes in for harmonies less often these days, she makes her mark when she does. And the implacable rock & roll piano on “The Red Door,” the parlor jazz guitars of “The Silver Light,” and the gothic moods of “Gentlemen” show this group is capable of more than bummed-out vintage Americana. The Handsome Family have never been especially prolific, but they can be counted on to deliver something special when they do introduce a new album, and Unseen may not cheer you up, but it will compel and fascinate anyone with an appetite for great songwriting. ~ Mark Deming

01 – Gold
02 – The Silver Light
03 – Back in My Day
04 – Tiny Tina
05 – Underneath the Falls
06 – The Sea Rose
07 – The Red Door
08 – Gentlemen
09 – King of Dust
10 – Green Willow Valley


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