Over the past five years or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the Melbourne, Australia-based indie folk/indie rock act Husky. Initially formed as a quartet featuring is founding members and primary songwriters Husky Gwenda and Gideon Preiss (keys, vocals), along with Evan Tweedie (bass, vocals) and Luke Collins (drums) filling out the band’s original lineup, the quartet quickly received national attention and acclaim after they won Triple J’s Unearthed Contest. As the result of a growing national profile, the band played at The Push Over Festival, one of their homeland’s biggest music festivals and they’ve opened for several internationally known touring acts, including Devendra Banhart, Noah and the Whale, The Shins, and Gotye.
The band’s remarkably self-assured and gorgeously lush full-length debut Forever So was released globally through Sub Pop Records — and the album was interestingly enough recorded in a loving DIY fashion with reclaimed recording gear in an abandoned bungalow near Gwenda’s house. The band’s sophomore effort Ruckers Hill further cemented the act’s reputation for incredibly crafted songs possessed effortlessly gorgeous melodies paired with anthemic hooks; however, as you may recall, with the release of “Late Night Store” late last year, the band revealed a massive change in thematic and sonic direction that was influenced by a 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. And one of the first things you’d notice if you had been familiar with the renowned Australian band is that while the material off their first two albums was melody-driven, “Late Night Store” was much more hook-driven and featured Gawenda and Preiss employing the of analog synths and electric guitar in what may have been one of their most rock-leaning songs they’ve written and 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 band’s first single of 2017 and the second single off the band’s third full-length album Punchbuzz continued 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 pushing the sound that won them international attention into a contemporary, rock-leaning take, both “Late Night Store” and “Ghost” are among the most personal yet ambitious songwriting of Gawenda’s career.
“Splinters In The Fire,” the soon-to-be released third album’s third and latest single can trace its origins to a guitar line that had been repeating in his head for weeks while the line “Splinters in the fire, summer days in the smoke” kept making its way into the lyrics had been writing. As Gawenda explains in press notes, there was “something about ruthlessness of fire — and time.” And as a result, the song possesses the wistful and sober mood of one coming to grips with the end of relationships, the passing of time and the acceptance of one’s own mortality; after all, all things pass and all things die, and this is is the way of things.
The duo, along with their backing band released a live video of them performing of the song, shot in the gardens of an old, somewhat abandoned mansion near their residence in Melbourne — and from the video, it’s a big rambling place, in which ghosts and spirits haunt and wander about.