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Unseen is the tenth studio album from husband and wife duo The Handsome Family and their first release since their unexpected worldwide fame when their song "Far From Any Road" was picked as the True Detective Season 1 theme song. With its unique mix of country instrumentation and intriguing surrealist lyricism, the album explores the unseen stories, people, and places of the American West, where members Brett and Rennie Sparks live (Albuquerque, NM) and shines a light on the obscure and forgotten.
Unseen continues The Handsome Family's embrace of things beyond easy view: the slow dive of the sun, enormous bugs awakening in thorny yards, sirens, and coyotes that cry out to the purple sky. An epic western gothic masterpiece, Unseen draws from real life events. "Gold" first began when a bunch of twenty-dollar bills blew in Brett's face in a parking lot dust storm and "Gentlemen" is a tribute to William Crookes who built the first vacuum tube in 1875, hoping to detect spirits from alternate dimensions. Many tracks fix around the idea that light emanates from things we can't see, including behind "The Red Door," in the empty hands of blackjack losers ("The Silver Light"), and amidst desert bones bleaching in the sun ("King of Dust").
The album was recorded in the Sparks' home studio at night "with only hawk moths listening" and features a rich tapestry of instrumentation which conjures images of the magical landscape of the couples New Mexico surroundings. Guest performers on the record include David Gutierrez (mandolin, dobro), Alex McMahon (guitar, baritone guitar, pedal steel), and Jason Toth (drums).