Husky Rescue - Ghost Is Not Real
It would be nice to say the world was waiting for Husky Rescue’s second album, but, sadly, the critical acclaim which greeted their debut wasn’t matched by airplay, sales or recognition (at least here in the UK). And so, judging by pre-exposure, it looks like the general public are about to miss out on another gem. For those who haven't followed the Husky Rescue story so far, Country Falls, released in 2004, resembles a country-fied version of Air’s Moon Safari, its mix of gentle electronica and lap steel guitar possibly conceived as a warm hug to counteract the Finnish winter chill.
Ghost Is Not Real then is a subtly different puppy, and not always so comforting. The vibe here is more (fellow Scandanavians) The Cardigans go Amnesiac (and, yes, that's as in the Radiohead album). Take effective opening track, My Home Ghost. A delicate, quiet start, with singer Reeta-Leena Korhola trying to convince herself “ghost is not real”, is engulfed by a sudden wave of electronic noise.
There is a lot more garden variety guitar this time. Current single, Nightless Night, here extended with a long instrumental bit in the middle, is a sort of country stomper. Hurricane (augmented with swirling gothic organ and post-punk drumming) and Caravan are better for having a slower tempo. All three of these tracks, however, are what might be described as "a bit more indie", being remisicent of The Cardigans. (Or, in the case of Hurricane, ABBA meets Arcade Fire.) Yet they still have the attention to detail which makes this band something a bit special.
The centrepiece is the three part Blueberry Tree. If not quite stung with Paranoid Android type schizophrenia, it does move through interesting mutations; from the simple sung Part I to the faintly eastern melody of Part II to the growing post-rock guitar of Part III.
While Country Falls featured a number of vocalists, Ghost Is No Real is tied by the voice of Reeta-Leena Korhola, making for a tighter album. The only exception is the male part on Shadow Run. It's a track that doesn’t quite work; cold, Kraftwerkian electronica, saddled with slightly silly half rapped vocals.
The singles so far are better in context, particularly Diamonds In the Sky (the closest thing in feel to the last album). This is a record to put your feet up to, rather than be digested in four minute bites. It’s quietly ambitious. It's also different enough to open the band up to a new audience, although not so different as to alienate previous fans. Hopefully this time round more people will see the light.