The Handsome Family: Last Days Of Wonder

Dividing the chores is an essential part of any marriage. Albuquerque duo Brett and Rennie Sparks split the task of songwriting between Rennie’s dark, dreamlike lyrics and Brett’s home-produced alt-country music and deep, resonant baritone. Imagine Edward Gorey writing lyrics for Johnny Cash. The process has served them well through seven albums, but rarely has the combination been as rich as on Last Days Of Wonder, an especially strong showcase of the Sparks’ rare combination of whimsy and morbidity. Last Days‘ title comes from Puritan witch-hunter Cotton Mather, who constantly worried about invisible spirits pervading the world of mortals. Ghosts also haunt Last Days, though not the way Mather might have imagined. “Your Great Journey” imagines an afterlife where bodiless souls quietly wander the Earth alone, intangible and stuck in mundanity: “Automatic sinks in airports no longer see your hands.”

Published in The A.V. Club, July 5, 2006. Read the rest of the article on the original website.

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