Unseen (The Handsome Family album)

Last updated
Handsome Family - Unseen.jpg
Studio album by
ReleasedSeptember 16, 2016 (2016-09-16)
Genre Alternative country
Label Milk & Scissors Music, Loose Music
The Handsome Family chronology
Professional ratings
Aggregate scores
Metacritic 81/100 [1]
Review scores
AllMusic Star full.svgStar full.svgStar full.svgStar half.svgStar empty.svg [2]
PopMatters 7/10 [3]
The Line of Best Fit 6.5/10 [4]
Folk Radio UK(positive) [5]
Magnet 95/100 [6]
Blurt 4/5 [7]
Mojo 4/5 [8]
The Independent 4/5 [9]

Unseen is the tenth studio album by alternative country duo The Handsome Family. It was released in September 2016 by the band's own label Milk & Scissors Music, [10] and Loose Music in Europe.


In a departure from recent prior albums, the main duo of Brett and Rennie Sparks were joined by three guest musicians: David Gutierrez (mandolin and dobro), Alex McMahon (guitar, baritone guitar, pedal steel), and Jason Toth (drums). [11]


The album was well received by critics: according to Metacritic, the album has received an average review score of 81/100, based on 9 reviews, "indicating universal acclaim." [1] Justin Cober-Lake of PopMatters wrote that "Unseen continues the duo's gothic folk and country aesthetic," and noted that the recent high-profile success of the Handsome Family song "Far From Any Road," which was used as the theme song to the TV series True Detective , had not seemed to change the band's approach: "they still sing from the margins, crafting alluring characters and sounds. ... With all its soft unquiet, Unseen stands with the most captivating of the pair's previous work." [3] Joe Goggins of The Line of Best Fit felt that the album did not take enough risks, stating that "it’s on the cuts where there’s signs of progression that Unseen excels, not least because the duo pull them off with real nuance every time." [4]

Track list

All tracks are written by The Handsome Family.

2."The Silver Light"3:51
3."Back in My Day"3:30
4."Tiny Tina"4:10
5."Underneath the Falls"4:13
6."The Sea Rose"3:41
7."The Red Door"5:14
9."King of Dust"5:06
10."Green Willow Valley"4:33

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  1. 1 2 "Unseen Reviews". Metacritic.com. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  2. Deming, Mark. "Unseen - The Handsome Family". Allmusic.com. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  3. 1 2 Cober-Lake, Justin (2016-10-04). "The Handsome Family: Unseen". Popmatters.com. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  4. 1 2 Goggins, Joe (2016-09-08). "On an understated tenth LP, The Handsome Family are content to stay in the shadows" . Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  5. Davies, Mike (2016-09-14). "The Handsome Family: Unseen" . Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  6. Poet, J. (October 29, 2016). "The Handsome Family: Unseen". Magnet. Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  7. Zimmerman, Lee. "THE HANDSOME FAMILY – Unseen". Blurt . Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  8. Fyfe, Andy (2016-09-16). "The Handsome Family: Unseen". Mojo .
  9. Gill, Andy (2016-09-14). "Album reviews: Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - Skeleton Tree, The Handsome Family - Unseen, and more". The Independent . Retrieved 2020-07-31.
  10. Ayers, Mike (2016-07-13). "Hear the Handsome Family's 'Gold' From Their Upcoming New Album 'Unseen' (Exclusive)". Wall Street Journal (Speakeasy blog). New York City. Retrieved 2016-07-14.
  11. "Unseen". The Handsome Family. Retrieved 2020-07-31.