In The Air

And that's a peachy sentiment, ain't it? Makes you feel warm inside. Warm like a thermal straitjacket.

Pa’s sitting on the veranda, slugging from a bottle of whiskey. He’s thinking about that time he shot and killed his brother. Mom’s sitting in the kitchen, taking liberal gulps from the cooking sherry. She’s writing a love letter to the gravedigger’s son. Welcome to the household of alt-country’s anti-Waltons, The Handsome Family. Love ain’t blind here – it’s blind drunk, it’s waving about the old six-shooter, and it’s just about to fall down a long flight of stairs.

The Handsome Family, in truth, are husband-and-wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks. She writes the lyrics – blackly comical stories about love, violence and prodigious feats of alcoholic consumption – and he sings them, his warm voice betraying tender affection, grave amusement and just occasionally, utterly immoral abandon. And if that’s not perverse enough, they’re eager to tell us that the lush orchestral lull of ‘In The Air’ – violins, mandolins, accordions – was pieced together on a top-of-the-range Apple Mac. The Handsome Family are, very probably, mad. But theirs is, undoubtedly, a beautiful madness.

[I]”There’s only so much wine you can drink in one life”[/I], ponders Brett, on ‘So Much Wine’, [I]”but it will never be enough to save you from the bottom of your glass”[/I]. And that’s a peachy sentiment, ain’t it? Makes you feel warm inside. Warm like a thermal straitjacket.

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