If you’ve been frequenting this site over the past five years or so, you’ve likely come across a handful of posts featuring the Melbourne, Australia-based indie folk/indie rock act Husky. Initially formed as a quartet featuring founding members and primary songwriters Husky Gawenda (vocals, guitar) and Gideon Preiss (keys, vocals) with Tweedie (bass, vocals) and Luke Collins (drums) filling out the band’s original lineup, the band quickly received national acclaim after winning Triple J’s Unearthed Contest and playing at The Push Over Festival, one of Australia’s biggest music festivals. Adding to a growing profile, the band opened for severally internationally known touring acts including Devendra Banhart, Noah and the Whale, The Shins, and Gotye.
As the story goes, the band’s remarkably self-assured and gorgeously lush full-length debut Forever So was released globally through Sub Pop Records but it was actually recorded in a lovingly DIY fashion with old recording gear in an abandoned bungalow near Husky Gwenda’s house. The band’s sophomore effort Ruckers Hill further cemented the act’s reputation for incredibly crafted songs that possessed elements of folk, pop and indie rock, along with some gorgeous melodies and rather anthemic hooks; however with up until the release of “Late Night Store” late last year, the band revealed a change in thematic and sonic direction that was influenced by a massive lineup change that left the band’s founding duo as its sole members — and from the year that Gawenda and Preiss spent living in Berlin. Whereas the material off their first two albums was melody- driven, “Late Night Store” was much more hook-driven and featured the band employing the use of synths, keys and electric guitar in what may arguably one of the more rousingly anthemic songs they’ve released. Thematically, the song captured the wild array of sensations and emotions most commonly felt when you’re far away from home — in particular, awe, reinvention, danger, of being in the words of Paul Salopek “a traveler, a man from far away” — while evoking the sensation of wandering around all hours of the day and night from jet lag, excitement, boredom and loneliness from hotel room to cafe, from cafe to bar, from bar to nightclub, observing everyone and everything around you; the strange and profound bond you have with others, who are like you, far away from home and are wandering around with the exact same thoughts and feelings reverberating in their heads.
“Ghost,” the second and latest single off the band’s third full-length effort Punchbuzz, slated for a June 2, 2017 continues in a similar vein as its preceding single as it features shimmering arpeggio synths, a propulsive bass line, thundering drumming and a rousingly anthemic hook — and while being an ambitious and contemporary, indie rock-leaning take on the sound that won them international attention, both singles manage to be among the most personal songwriting of Gawenda’s career. Interestingly, as Gwenda explained to the folks at Clash, “‘Ghost’ is about a process of coming to terms with this half-asleep, half-awake, somewhere between the haunted past and the sunlit possibility of tomorrow, mid-air, mid-dream state. Put simply, I was searching for a way to get free. Free of the past. Free of the future. Free of myself. Whatever that means.” And as a result, the song possesses an urgent yearning for something that’s not quite there in front of you while hinting at the regrets, mistakes and experiences that accumulate to create a messy, lived-in life.
Directed by Jonathan Chong, produced by Dropbear Digital and featuring animation by Clem Stamation, the recently released video for “Ghost” features crocheted animation of Gawenda and Preiss as clownish, hobo-looking skeletons, the Grim Reaper ferrying souls to the underworld across a literal river of dead, a train that runs on ghosts — and while being mischievous, the video possesses a dark, dream-like logic.