The Handsome Family – Milk And Scissors
Carrot Top 1996
Listen while reading:
Three years later. The Handsome Family is back with the album that easily could have won many bad cover contests – not that the picture is bad as a picture but in combination with the music and as a front cover it really is a pain in the ass to look at. But as much as I like good album covers I’m a man who thinks that music has to speak for itself indepented of the artwork or the medium or what else. And so does Milk and Scissors. If you would have known about the albums they were about to release in the future as this one hit the roads you could have said that they found their sound. Still, at some points you have those heavily distorted guitars (Winnebago Skeletons) but overall they sound as they will sound ever after. Brett got this charismatic, deeply emotional tone in his voice you will learn to love as one outstanding feature of the Handsome Family and as a band they developed the ability to include the keyboard as an important instrument without annoying the audience (at least that is my point of view and I’m not a fan of keyboards in particular!). They moved away from the somewhat punkish attitude (but still in an alt. country context) on Odessa and became grown ups. The music lives from power in which you can feel dust and heat mixed with the will to throw this country sound in a new, if you want, more modern setting. And this is something they really managed to do and so you get the feeling of the South combined with the spirit of a young band ready to wrench it a bit to the left and the right. There was a compilation they were featured on with Moving Furniture Around from Odessa, that was called The New Sounds Of The Old West. And I think this is a perfect title to describe the music they make and what Milk And Scissors sounds like. And for this, there is no better track than The Dutch Boy to summarize the album because it is a calm track featuring all elements of their sound at this time. Milk And Scissors is what you can call call one big step forward and I’m sure this album was the milestone they had to reach to profile themselfs as a real band.