The Handsome Family – Through The Trees
Carrot Top 1998
Listen while reading:
Weightless Again (from Through The Trees)
My Sister’s Tiny Hands (from Through The Trees)
Cathedrals (from Through The Trees)
Through The Trees. Man, when I hear just the name of this album I have some of my best music related memories because there are not many other records that got me so intense as this one. This was also the first album that got me in touch with The Handsome Family and I can still remember the day. It was one summer afternoon back in 2008 and I sat down with two friends of mine, Jan and Lance, to watch Jim White’s documentary Searching for the Wrong-Eyed Jesus. And in this film, along with many other artists, The Handsome Family was featured with their song My Sister’s Tiny Hands. But the strange thing was that I thought that their sound was special, but I was not that sure to start further investigations. But in the next days there was this strange feeling that I must listen to the music again – but still I wasn’t caught totally. It was Jan some weeks later who told me, that the actual band name was The Handsome Family and from this point on, I listend to their music – and to be exact to Through The Trees. I have to admit that it took me some rounds to get comfortabel but then I was like possessed with the album and I’m still. Every track on it seems to be a magical tune and Brett’s voice is so creppingly haunting – it’s hard to find the right words. Also the whole sound of the album was improved by 100 percent towards Milk And Scissors because they quit using the hard distorted guitar sound but totally include the keyboards. And, as I said in the article on Milk And Scissors, I’m not quite a fan of this instrument. But the both of them are freaking gods creating melodies and atmospheres that will never ever leave your brain again. Also they found a special and very unique way to combine country sound with what I call the typical Handsome Family sound. And this is also the reason why I include three tracks for you to listen to. Yet it is hard to choose just three of them! But because they are all so good I can’t make a mistake and that is quite something. I decided to include the opener (Weightless Again), the follow up (My Sister’s Tiny Hands) and Cathedrals. I did so because the first two tracks are one of the best album beginnings I’ve ever heard. They sum up the whole album but still they are not the two smash hits wherefore the rest of the album must be worse. It’s the perfect middle ground and I just love it and love it even more. Cathedrals I had to include (right now I’m arguing with myself if I should rather include The Giant Of Illinois?…) because it is one perfect example of how they combine country with what maybe is the alternative in alt. country. Yeah, it sounds different but it’s is so familiar. What the heck, let the music speak for itself, I can’t do any better! But one track I need to mention seperately because it sounds different than the others. I’m talking about Down In The Ground – and this is one track you have to learn to love because the cawing vocals of Rennie are not everyone’s taste. But you can believe me when I tell you that this is no Big Bad Wolf 2 but rather a succsessful experiment that boots the whole album. So I think I talked enough – Through The Trees is a golden piece of musical history.