The Handsome Family in the Wild
Long-running Albuquerque duo The Handsome Family execute a simple concept with such grace and body that it's hard to believe they're not well known as brilliant songwriters. Rennie Sparks crafts darkly comic short stories in simple country progressions for deadpan husband Brett to sing. Their best albums, In the Air and Last Days of Wonder, are particularly adept on both melodic and lyrical fronts, such as when Brett gorgeously intones, "I shot my brother William five times in the back," or details a grisly expedition upon finding a human skull. The new Wilderness is one of their quieter efforts, with each track named after an animal ("Flies," "Frogs," etc.), but betrays no loss of sharpness in their one-of-a-kind storytelling or delicate sound. Here's a compilation of some of The Handsome Family's greatest tunes from their subtly massive catalog.