Aussie quartet Husky recorded their debut album in a run-down shack at the back of their frontman’s rented house, a choice that, in the world of indie-folk, doesn’t seem all that unorthodox. A quick tally of the band’s contemporaries (Bon Iver, Iron
& Wine, The Tallest Man on Earth) suggests that basements, cabins, and bedrooms have yielded some of the better folk albums of the past decade.
And while the setting of Forever So was realistically more a result of money woes than of careful deliberation (Husky made the recording before Sub Pop signed them), the quiet, understated record is nevertheless a noteworthy DIY success. Calm opener “Tidal Wave” hints at some of the influences that are audible throughout the album. Eponymous singer/guitarist Husky Gawenda’s vocal melodies evoke an amusing combination of Paul Simon, Thom Yorke, and The Shins’ James Mercer, while the album’s harmonies, rustic instrumentation, and surprisingly natural key changes are unmistakably reminiscent of Fleet Foxes, the group’s most obvious counterpart. While the album is bookended by stronger, more effortless songs, the extensive list of borrowed sounds inevitably leaves Husky struggling to find a unique voice—a weakness especially evident on Forever So’s second half.
But solemn closer “Farewell (in 3 Parts),” a genuinely beautiful track and easily the album’s best, makes up for most of the inconsistency along the way, and hints at what the band is capable of when they sound a little more like Husky and a little less like everyone else.
Playlist picks: “Tidal Wave,” “Fake Moustache,” “Farewell (in 3 Parts)”