Band of the Day

2012.07.10

Husky

An Australian quartet makes whimsical folk rock that's simple yet stirring
Going to heaven with a fake moustache, going to try my luck in the clouds.
lyrics from Fake Moustache

Australian folk band Husky features cousins, Husky Gawenda and keyboardist Gideon Preiss, along with bassist Evan Tweedie and drummer Luke Collins to round out the lineup. After winning the Triple J Unearthed competition, the band went on to support such acts as Devendra Banhart, Noah and the Whale, Kimbra, Jinja Safari and Gotye. Their debut album, Forever So, was released in October 2011. The band, wanting to focus solely on making great music, took a grassroots approach and recorded Forever So in a bungalow behind Gawenda’s house. The foursome then went down to LA’s House of Blues Studios to mix the album with Noah Georgeson (Devendra Banhart, Joanna Newsom and The Strokes). In Gawenda’s own words, “Forever So recalls times gone by, dreams, and people who are no longer in your life but still exist in your memory.”

Dress Husky in Kiss outfits, hand them Gibson SGs with devil horns, and they'd still sound relaxing. The Aussie foursome isn't mellow exactly, they're capable of rocking out, but even then there's something serene about them. Led by singer/guitarist Husky Gawenda, the band makes stripped down folk music bolstered by powerful drumming, dramatic piano and the kinds of vocal harmonies that elicit comparisons to classic groups like The Fairport Convention and The Byrds. The band's debut album Forever So was recorded in a shed behind Gawenda's house, and the album has a simplicity to it you'd expect from a retreat environment. Gawenda's voice is calm and collected, even as he's communicating powerful emotions and coaxing pristine melodies out of his guitar.

Standout "History's Door" immediately homes in on your hear strings with its mix of soft piano, lo-fi acoustic guitar and quietly insistent drums. Gawenda's vocals have a bouncing rhythm to it that's at once gentle and driving. It's one of those tracks that sneaks up on you, somehow sliding from this nice and familiar to, wow this is my favorite new song. At points, Husky draws comparisons to fellow Sub Pop label mates Fleet Foxes. “Hunter” delves into finger picked English folk traditions with solemn majesty and brings in some celestial vocal harmonies. Other tracks are livelier with more attention to rhythm. “Fake Moustache” lays down an almost hypnotic groove thanks to lock step rhythm between bass, guitar, and Gawenda's vocals and the cadence of his word choice.

While the full album isn't always as strong as the highlights, Forever So is an incredibly satisfying album. It's laid back and chilled vibes makes it seem easy, but writing simple songs this compelling is no easy task.