Looking back with confidence
Ruckers Hill, the sophomore record from Melbourne-based indie folk group Husky, is an ode both to a place and a state of mind according to frontman Husky Gawenda. And the Van Gogh-esque painting gracing the cover hints at a depth and sophistication that becomes clear after listening to the album’s 13 songs a few times.
Yes, Husky is relatively new, but already looking back with nostalgia to the energy and hopefulness of youth. Songs like “Drunk” recall that feeling of limitless possibility with lines like, “feed the fire that’s juts starting” and “I feel the time is coming for you, for me, for everybody.” Likewise, the song “Wild and Free” captures this energy, shifting back and forth between pensive ballad and frantic drum and piano-laden rocker, almost as if the song protagonist is still trying to figure out what they want.
Husky does not seem to have this problem. Their sound is impressively confident and steady, suggesting a fusion of Simon & Garfunkel and Fleet Foxes. The S & G comparison has already been made and is not surprising once you hear the harmonies. The Fleet Foxes comparison, on the other hand, only makes sense once you realize they got help from producer and engineer, Phil Elk, who has worked with such acts as The Shins, Band of Horses and yes, Fleet Foxes.
According to interviews with Gawenda Husky, Ruckers Hill is a place he shared with a former flame at a time when he was feeling the life surge unique to a certain age, when rustic living is an adventure and the future seems like it will easily uncover itself with the smooth passage of time. But Husky in no way sound naïve about this, they sound wisened. You can see this in Husky the frontman’s haunted eyes. While they may have seen a thing or two, the music still has a youthfulness. Look for the album’s title track to bring down the house during live shows.