A novelty can get you attention, but what then? Successful acts use their novelty to get a foot in the door and then let loose with the real deal once inside. Ask the White Stripes—or the Handsome Family.
The Handsome Family got their foot in the door as a husband & wife duo (Rennie and Brett Sparks) singing spooky dirges supported by a drum machine that was started and stopped by hand on stage. It was quirky, it was neat, and it was novel. But the Handsome Family realizes that only goes so far and they’ve expanded their sound (and their charm) on Singing Bones. Sure, the lyrics still lean into the creepy zone, but the instrumentation and production are now worthy of Rennie’s lyrics and Brett’s musical arrangement. Purists may shout out “Judas,” (can you imagine?), but Singing Bones is the Handsome Family finding their confidence as recording artists.