| Chicago - Taking place under bowed branches and deep
within winding corn mazes, The Handsome Family releases "Honey Moon" through
Carrot Top Records on April 14, 2009. Their eighth studio release, it
celebrates the duo's twentieth year of marriage with a series of love songs
that sharply contrast the dark themes of their previous seven releases.
Full of an awed sense of emotion in the face of nature's mysteries, Brett
Sparks (music) and Rennie Sparks (lyrics) branch from their usual canon of
the dark and mysterious on "Honey Moon", to establish a theme rooted in the
tradition of 19th century romanticism. For the first time there is no body
count. Not one person dies. There is only one song about a lost love. It is
an album of transcendence, of touching the divine, if only for a moment,
through our love of someone else, even if he is a katydid.
Rennie says of the pivotal point that influenced her writing on Honey Moon,
"We were driving over some mountains in New Zealand listening to The
Platters singing, "Twilight Time," and I could actually feel that gorgeous
song healing little wounds all through my body. Life felt almost unbearably
bittersweet after the song ended and I felt I had no choice except to sit
down and try to write my way back into that mysterious palace where
'heavenly shades of night are falling."
Fans of vocal groups like the Mills Brothers, The Inkspots, and the Platters
for many years, Brett and Rennie's 'song' as a young couple was, "My
Prayer." The Sparks' also have a profound love for the beautiful songs of
great American songwriters like Berlin, Gershwin, and Porter who treat the
subject of love with grace and transcendence. Theirs are songs of human
beings making contact with the numinous. Their melodies and words are the
finest examples of songwriting-- mysterious and sublime.
The prospect of composing an album of love songs and avoiding triteness is
fraught with peril. Brett explains, "Since we decided that all the songs
would address the same theme (love), I decided that musically each one
should be distinct to avoid the pitfalls of other records of this ilk. Each
song should be its own world, have its own style. So it's a record of 12
self-contained entities. There are tin-pan alley songs, country songs, r & b
songs, a bluegrass song, pop songs, jazz songs, and even rock ballads. This
Record represents a concerted attempt to flex all of our songwriting
muscles. Honey Moon is more musically and technically complex than anything
I have ever done. I fell in love with the studio anew."
Recording all their songs in a converted garage studio at the back of their
Albuquerque house, "Honey Moon," is a headphone record with layer upon layer
of cool weird treasures waiting to be discovered with successive listens.
The twosome's seventh CD, "Last Days of Wonder" (June 2006), was one of Mojo's
Top Ten American Albums for 2006 and was called "an unqualified triumph" by
Uncut. Their songs have been covered by many artists, most notably: Andrew
Bird, Christy Moore, The Sadies, Sally Timms and Cerys Matthews.
They have appeared in the movie, I’m Your Man (2005), a tribute to Leonard Cohen as well as Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus (2004). In 2004, a reader's poll in Mojo named The Handsome Family's third CD, "Through the Trees" one of the ten essential Americana records. Andrew Bird's version of their song, "Don't Be Scared" was recently featured in the movie, The Promotion.
The Handsome Family record all their songs in a converted garage studio at the back of their Albuquerque house. In their live performances they are sometimes up to a six-piece band and sometimes just Brett and Rennie. They have toured extensively throughout the USA, Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand.
Green Light Go Publicity
National: Janelle Rogers
Tour: Heather Wisniewski