Expect darkness and humour when the Handsome Family comes to Denmark
Neo-gothic country duo the Handsome Family kick of their three day mini-tour of Denmark at Bremen on Monday, before going on to Odense and Aalborg. The husband-and-wife team of Brett and Rennie Sparks are enjoying long overdue increased appreciation after their song ‘Far From Any Road’ was featured as the theme music for the hit US TV show ‘True Detective’. That song, about someone being poisoned to death by a cactus that only flowers at night, perfectly encapsulates the haunting allegorical beauty of the Handsome Family’s music.
The songs are in the tradition of American folk music with Brett Sparks’s rich baritone signing lyrics written by Rennie while playing a guitar, banjo or electric guitar. Rennie sings a little but mainly plays the bass and autoharp, an ancient American stringed instrument, not unlike a zither. The resultant sound is dark and detailed and is a perfect background to Rennie’s surreal lyricism.
Intimate and engaging
There is a darkness to the Handsome Family’s sound, but also humour. Songs about love and loss are interspersed with tales about animals and nature. Rennie is a great storyteller; the song ‘After We Shot The Grizzly’ is like Voltaire’s Candide, relocated to the Old West. Whether writing about the world’s tallest man, the life of Nikola Tesla or Brett’s nervous breakdown, Rennie employs a narrative style that makes the listener want to know what happens next.
As a live act the Handsome Family are intimate and engaging. Rennie often explains the context of a song, or describes the protagonists, between numbers. Having recorded thirteen albums over nineteen years, they have a huge back catalogue to draw on but the one song that has brought them international recognition, ‘Far From Any Road’, is sure to feature. The Handsome Family are unique and this opportunity to see them on a rare excursion to Denmark should be seized with enthusiasm.
Oct 20; 20:00; Bremen Teater, Nyropsgade 39-41, 1602 Cph V; 140kr, brementeater.dk