When one thinks of Australian music, there are two distinct branches that come to mind: the AC/DC side of things, with hard rock, hard drugs and Angus Young’s face. On the other, the didgeridoo. I would like to propose a third – the sweet luscious harmonies of Husky. With their second album Ruckers Hill, this Aussie quartet entrances lovers of folk music and roots alike, with their dreamlike journeys of tonality and timbre.
Ruckers Hill is, in a way, Husky’s debut in North America. The opening title track is doubly a ballad and a moody road song that plays like a keyed-down Noah & The Whale song. The unison vocals of Husky Gawenda and Gideon Preiss add an extra layer to an already compelling piece that feels reminiscent of my brain’s stream-of-consciousness.
The single I’m Not Coming Back gives off a post-break up commentary with a rich undertone of roots that seems to subvert the anger that many of us feel at the end of a relationship. It is definitely more reflective in nature than if the lyrics were put to rock music.
The seventh track Arrow might be the most lyrically rich tune on the whole album. With poetic phrases such as “the days are like arrows with hearts overgrown” Husky combines the contemporary indie folk sound, with classic master songwriters of the Bruce Cockburn variety.
Leaner Days is the musical outlier with its sound being a hybrid fusion of an 18th century adventure drama (think Outlander) but with a softer focus, higher pitch and more piano heavy. It is alternatively quiet and dream and vociferous in nature; speeding up and slowing down in a rich river of church bells, a babbling brook running through the lush vegetation of the Aussie Outback.
Other songs have a country-rockabilly, and a few have a rock edge. Yet, throughout it all Ruckers Hill is an assertive yet friendly calling from our commonwealth friends in the Southern Hemisphere. Playing with tones more so than most indie bands of today, Husky has achieved an album that is both lyrically stunning and varied in its musicality. It is a slow drive through the countryside, a long romantic date on a summer’s eve, a blossoming and transformation of a tiny little flower into a field of grand foliage. And I love it all.
Ruckers Hill will be released on June 2, 2015 on Nevado