The Melbourne, Australia-based quartet of Husky have had the kind of success that many journalists and fans would refer to as “overnight success.” As a result of winning Australian radio station, Triple J’s Unearthed Contest, the quartet played at their native country’s biggest, most popular and most beloved music festivals, The Push Over Festival. And naturally, such exposure quickly catapulted the then-nationally known band into international sensations as they were opening for the likes of Devendra Banhart, Noah and the Whale, the Shins, and their fellow countryman Gotye.
After several months of writing songs, the band spent some time learning how to soundproof rooms from YouTube videos and other sources, found a bunch of old recording gear and set off to an abandoned bungalow that was located at the back of lead vocalist Husky Gawenda’s house to record what would become the band’s debut, Forever So, which Sub Pop Records released in 2012. And although their debut effort came from such DIY and seemingly humble, everyday environs, the material possessed a quiet self-assuredness and a lush yet elegant simplicity with poetic lyrics that managed to be deeply introspective and direct and sung with Gawenda’s earnest yet dreamy falsetto.
Bearing an uncanny resemblance to the singer/songwriters of the late 1960s to the mid/late 1970s, Forever So also managed a rather rare thing – to feel both of its time and timeless in the sense that it sounds as though it could have been released in 1974 or the other day. But for the sake of the discussion, the album won me over because of its absolutely lovely melodies; in fact, the album landed at number 11 on this site’s Best of 2012 list.
Last month, the Australian quartet released their sophomore effort Ruckers Hill. And the album’s second single “Saint Joan” a rumination on both the redemptive power of love and of learning to let go may further cement the band’s reputation for pairing thoughtful lyrics with stunningly gorgeous melodies; after all, the song has a beautiful and uplifting spirit that serves as a great counterbalance to the achingly mournful lyrics that turn proud and resilient towards the end. The song’s narrator describes seeing his Joan “in the darkness dancing like a wave of light” and “the killer I’ve been waiting for/long as I died right next to you.” But something is wrong and with the end of the relationship, he learns to accept it and let go with a sense of liberation, as well. Sure it ain’t easy but we all have to learn to let go at some point, and when we do there’s not just strength but a sense of wisdom, too.
The recently released official video manages to continue the band’s reputation for pairing incredibly fitting animation to describe each song’s mood – and in equally beautiful way.