Album Review: Husky, ‘Ruckers Hill’
However far back we choose to mark its origins, the musical phenomenon now widely recognized as Americana established roots outside the U.S. a long time ago. Perhaps it's time to find a new term for a style and approach that now resonates far and wide. Labels aside, Australian duo Husky put a majestic spin on countrified folk rock that's likewise bound to resonate far and wide.
Led by singer-songwriter Husky Gawenda, the band (a quartet that now features Gawenda and his cousin/keyboardist Gideon Preiss as core members) essentially make earnest, acoustic guitar-driven music with hooks that burrow into the memory as effectively as it tugs at heartstrings. Listening to Forever So, their 2012 debut for Sub Pop, it appears as if Gawenda and company arrived at the studio with their sound more or less fully formed. Even then, the band showed their ability to craft intricate arrangements that could still accommodate moments of arena-sized pop.
This time, though, the arrangements have grown even more intricate. But instead of pop bombast, the band use the natural ambience of the recording space to aim for the sublime. The multi-part harmonies on Ruckers Hill reach skyward with glimmers of natural reverb that make the music sound like it was written to be sung in church as hymns. But with the repeat chorus of "I'm not coming back," the sense of determination to go out into the world on Ruckers Hill makes it perfectly suited for the plane, the train, the car and even the house – ideally, anyplace you can stare out a window and assess where you're going, where you've been and where you're headed.