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Husky, led by singer/guitarist Husky Gawenda came to the WERS studio all the way from Melbourne, Australia to play songs from their debut album, Forever So. The four-piece band consisted of an acoustic guitar, bass, drums, and keyboard. Their sound seemed to suspiciously manifest itself through the facial hair of Gawenda; thick and woodsy, yet groomed and presentable.
From the opening vocal harmonies of their first song “Tidal Wave”, it was clear why they had shared such great enthusiasm for my Beach Boys shirt. With the gentle guitar strumming, quiet keyboard flourishes, sparse drumming, and breezy melodies, the song felt more like a sunset at bay than it did a “tidal wave” as the title suggest. They created a rich, fleshed out sound, while retaining an earthy, natural feel. Structurally, the song is brilliantly composed, with the band singing a myriad of shifting vocal melodies all on top of each other, and all equally infectious and resonant. An instrumental break at the end introduced a “wah” effect on the keyboard, creating a sonic fluidity that made the lyrical references to oceans and waves all the more relevant. The band performed it just as cohesively as the composition of the song itself.
The performance and the songs had a certain sense of intimacy that arose from the bands personal connection to the music, and their self-recording process. So it was only natural that, as Gawenda said, “there was some reluctance in having someone else mix it, but the process was quite collaborative, it wasn’t too hard.” The album was picked up by Sub Pop, making Husky the first Australian band to sign to the label. “It’s meant that we’ve been able to come to the USA,” said Gawenda “its changed our experience a lot, its changed out lives a lot.”
The second song that the band played, “History’s Door”, started with a quiet, unobtrusive intro. The pounding rhythm of the marching band snare drum foreshadowed the intensity to come. The sparse instrumentation made the entrance of the bass and rhythm all the more explosive and intense. The percussion was not loud or aggressive, but expressive and emotive, just like the lyrics sung by Gawenda. The song followed a traditional pop structure, with a few digressions and intricacies to keep it interesting. Husky proved themselves to be proficient and gifted musicians with their instrumental interplay and impressive display of restraint in their performance.
The band is currently in the middle of an expansive North American tour traveling through both coasts. “American people come to shows with a very open mind,” says Gawenda “and with an attitude of wanting to have a good time and enjoy the music” and with Husky’s music, the band makes it hard not.