Independent Records – 2001 – 44 minutes
It must be said that The Handsome Family are not everybody's cup of tea. They do tend to have, frankly, a rather odd view on life. 'Twilight' is the fifth album from the husband and wife duo of Brett and Rennie Sparks and, although it's good to see that many of their preoccupations – dead animals, the dangers of gravity – haven't changed overmuch, the album is very much a progression from the darkness of 1998's 'Through the Trees' and the bloody narratives of last year's 'In the Air'.
On 'Twilight' lyricist Rennie focuses on the margins where technology and nature collide. In the closing song, 'Peace in the Valley Once Again', she imagines how animals and insects would take over if civilisation disintegrated. Her gimlet-eyed examination of the dark underbelly of modernity alternates between creepy and hilarious, especially given Brett's deadpan delivery which sometimes lulls you into a false sense of security. Listen to the lyrics and you suddenly realise that you're singing along with Rennie's paean to dead pets: "So long to my dog Snickers who ate Christmas tinsel/So long to Mr Whiskers who jumped out of a window" ('So Long').
Unique is one word that can be used to describe The Handsome Family, disturbed may be another, but if you step into their askew world just once, you'll never forget the experience.
Tracklisting:The Snow White Diner - Passenger Pigeons - A Dark Eye - There is a Sound - All The TV's In Town - Gravity - Cold, Cold, Cold - No One Fell Asleep Alone - I Know You Are There - Birds You Cannot See - The White Dog - So Long - Peace In The Valley Once Again