by Richard Hart
Someone recently said to me that there were no new ideas, just repetition and adaptation of old ideas. I managed to resist telling them that what they had said was also an old idea.
If they were right, that means that if you’re creative and you want to make new music, you’ve either got to be even more out there to create something new or you have to try and make an impression in a well-worn path.
Australian up and coming band “Husky” are attempting the latter path with their début album ‘Forever So’. Husky cite folk bands like Crosby, Stills and Nash, The Doors, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen as their influences and you can certainly pick that up when you first listen to ‘Forever So’.
The album begins with the sweet, uplifting “Tidal Wave”. Despite having a few tenuous rhymes in its lyrics, the song is a great way for the album to open up, full of the introspection that characterises the rest of the album. It’s also really nicely produced, featuring a ‘cotton picking’ bit of blues guitar, some solid but low key percussion and a rising chorus.
Second along is the faster paced “Fake Moustache” which is both more thoughtful in terms of its lyrics but also a bit more chaotic. The song feels like it evolved out of a group of musicians just jamming and then it began to coalesce. In a way though the song feels a bit unfinished.
“History’s Door” is the lead-out single and it’s both polished and a little bit predictable. But its simplicity is a huge benefit for the song that ends up a major grower. The first few times I heard it, I wasnt inspired by it. But the more I’ve listened to it, the more I like it. The soft, unobtrusive vocals slide in along side a gentle percussion and acoustic guitar. The final verse is really enjoyable too.
This is a well chosen lead out single too, perhaps a tad unobtrusive but it’s got enough character to stick with you. A few more listens and the song is in the back of your mind in a comfortable way.
The simple lyrical style is expanded on for the fourth track, “The Woods” which is somewhat downbeat and at times a fairly mournful song, especially coming on the back of the upbeat “Historys Door”. “The Woods” features more story-telling than some of the previous songs.
The simple and rather clichéd “Hunter” is next which features a simple and rather sweet repeating chorus. It’s quite an introspective piece and it wears its “Crosby Stills and Nash” influences rather nakedly on its sleeve.
The album takes a surprising turn for the darker with the edgier “Dark Sea”. Built around a tense acoustic guitar riff which then builds up to a growling chorus that isn’t quite as menacing as it’s trying to be but in comparison to the gentle nature of the rest of the album, Dark Sea is quite intense.
“Dark Sea” really did feel like a major call back to the Doors but the vocals arent nearly as edgy or as deep as those of Jim Morrison. Still, there few début acts who could claim to have that sort of depth
The smokey acoustic guitar of “Forever So” is built around pitch piano and its a very atmospheric song. The lyrics and vocals remain rather obvious but then a falsetto piece in the centre of the track changes the feel of the song somewhat to be something a bit more eerie. The sudden fade out at the end of the track is an interesting touch.
“Animals and Freaks” is much darker and the most depressing track on the album. A tale of lost love that is gloomy, edgy and creepy in equal measures, it evokes Leonard Cohen in its tone. The song’s tone picks up for the yearning tone of the chorus. This is one of the more emotionally affecting songs on the album and gives a tantalising glimpse of the quality of song writing that the band could have within them.
There’s a quick floating instrumental next, imaginatively called “Instrumental”. This is followed by the breezy and poppy “Hundred Dollar Suit” whose vocals recall Paul Simon and it’s music is very much influenced by Crosby, Stills and Nash.
The album takes another downbeat turn with the echoey and desolate “Don’t Tell Your Mother” as which might almost be at home in a horror movie but for the gentle acoustic guitar. The story-telling is much stronger in this song than many of the others.
“Farewell” closes the album out with a slow, composed and very powerful build up. But then the actual climax of the song is very much like the rest of the album which is a very minor disappointment.
“Forever So” is a solid debt album and feels very polished, without being soulless. It’s engaging without being unforgettable. It’s an album that knows its history but occasionally suffers for it. Husky are a band with some great potential that so far hasn’t quite been realised.