Independent Records - 2003 - 38 minutes

Possibly the weirdest couple in alternative country - and certainly the funniest in a live setting - Brett and Rennie Sparks return with their sixth studio album, 'Singing Bones'.

They may have moved from the Windy City to Albuquerque, New Mexico but they've brought their trademark obsessions along for the ride. 'Singing Bones' lovingly revisits apocalypse - twice - twisted love stories and the uneasy co-existence of ghosts with modern life.

Brett's sonorous baritone and the sparse instrumentation on the LP compliment Rennie's lyrics, which grow darker and more twisted with each year that passes. Brett gives traditional folk song 'Dry Bones' a toe-tapping treatment and there are mariachi touches on 'Gail with the Golden Hair' and the most satisfying track, 'Far From Any Road', where the couple trade verses about death in the desert, accompanied by mandolin, trumpet and rattlesnake.

Although they may have ploughed this furrow before, The Handsome Family are still unique in their field. A gruesome twosome like no other.

Caroline Hennessy

Tracklisting: The Forgotten Lake - Gail With The Golden Hair - 24-Hour Store - The Bottomless Hole - Far From Any Road - If The World Should End In Fire - A Shadow Underneath - Dry Bones - Fallen Peaches - Whitehaven - Sleepy - The Song Of A Hundred Toads - If The World Should End In Ice