Husky are a four-piece, but like many bands they are named after their lead singer. That’s right: his name is actually Husky. Husky Gawenda. If that’s not a name to pick up girls with, I don’t know what is.
Nomenclature aside, the Melbournites’ debut album ‘Forever So’ is a sweet little gem on its own. Imagine if Angus Stone had been brought up in a forest glen rather than on the beach: and you’ve got Husky.
The first few tracks seem to set a too-familiar scene for the album: polite, unobtrusive folk that will warm hearts, but may settle into the dust of Australian acoustics soon enough. Yet there are elements of ‘Forever So’ that I can’t quite resign to that fate – the songwriting is incredibly mature for a debut, and there is a sense of perpetuated haunting that raises it above the standard folk-pop traps.
The single ‘The Woods’ has charming vocal harmonies and a fuller sound, reminiscent of Sydney’s Boy & Bear. The acoustic guitar melodies are consistently impressive throughout the whole LP, but the more striking tracks are those that explore the layering of vocals and piano. An aptitude for storytelling comes through on ‘Animals & Freaks’: an exquisitely haunting tale of a brutal infatuation – “She wore her beauty like a cloak, with the devil up her sleeve / She was ancient like the Greeks, amongst us animals and freaks”.
‘How Do You Feel’ is an eerie piano track that sends shivers from the first quiet lines, “How do you feel, how do you feel / I feel like I just killed a man, but it doesn’t feel real / the blood’s too red, he looks too dead”. This is the kind of emotional impact that remains understated throughout most of the album – almost as if Husky are scared of crossing the line into the territory of big emotional ballads and soaring choruses. They execute their own quiet sound very well, but it does feel like there are a few missed opportunities in between the album’s standout tracks. Still, ‘Forever So’ will make you want to snuggle up by a fireplace with a man (perhaps named Husky) to tell you stories late into the night.
‘Forever So’ is out through Liberation Music.