So, you sit down and start listening to Husky, and pretty soon you’re propped up on one elbow, as The Woods starts building in waves of echoing piano and dramatic percussion. And there, at just four songs in, is the crucial point of the album. Reaction can go two ways, a lot like those teenage novels where the reader decided the outcome at the bottom of each page.
The first choice is to push yourself back up to a sitting position, mentally catalogue the Australian newcomers with all those other folk-flecked bands whose lyrics see them “walking in the woods”.
The other choice is to surrender yourself to their painstakingly built-up ambience. Because it’s not just another return to the country, and nor is it really a folkster’s reaction to the big city (Melbourne, if you were wondering). The light and shade in the lyrics is perfectly mirrored in the restrained use of deep-welling harmonies. Forever So is more like that interesting corner of the park where you’re never sure you’re alone.
By this time, you might have got through the threatening and ominous Dark Seas and the lazy, almost flamenco-sounding title track – both album highs. And while I can hear everything from The Band to The Fleet Foxes in there somewhere, it’s Husky’s ability to turn old ideas into new that consistently impresses.
This is a debut that exists on a level far above most in terms of realising ideas. Each track here is crafted with an enviable dedication, you can almost hear the passion rolling on the tape among the wooden instruments. Sub Pop seemed to have unearthed another gem and we are all ears.