Detective work uncovers a Handsome theme tune

Now their song is the theme fo ‘True Detective’, The Handsome Family have been lifted from obscurity

Sat, Mar 29, 2014, 01:00

The turnaround in their profile has been nothing short of shocking, but the real pleasure, says Rennie, is the band “now being acknowledged by those that once dismissed or ignored us. We were invisible, and now we’re on a hugely popular television show – and people seem to understand how we fit in with that. The nicest thing someone has said to me recently is that they never want to fast-forward through the title credits, because they just like listening to the song and how it sets the mood for the show.”

As overnight successes go, it has taken The Handsome Family more than two decades of touring and a series of low-budget (and often beautiful if occasionally puzzling) albums to be really seen and heard.

“It’s not the way things are supposed to happen, is it? For one thing, bands just don’t last over 20 years; for two, they’re not supposed to be a married couple writing songs together; and, for three, nothing new or exciting usually happens. So for us to be a new band to so many people is amazing. People are finding out all about our older records, delving into our world, and that’s terrific.

“We spent a long time struggling, just to survive – like many acts, we asked ourselves, How do we get our artistic voice heard? True Detective is a really nice gift for us, because people have heard us in a way that makes them understand what we’re trying to do in a more interesting way.”

And, lest we forget, a good portion of The Handsome Family’s tours over the past 15 years have started or ended in Ireland. We understood and embraced their weirdness years before T Bone Burnett came along.

“There’s this notion that music is about selling personalities that are larger than life – it’s always about the singer, not the song,” says Rennie. “In Ireland you’ve never forgotten what it’s like to focus on just the song, and how beautiful it is to share it with other people.”


The Handsome Family play Black Box, Belfast, on May 5th; Dolan’s, Limerick, on May 6th; and Crane Lane , Cork, on May 7th. Their latest album, Wilderness , is distributed by Loose Music

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