Husky Rescue - The Long Lost Friend

by Joseph Majsterski Rating:8 Release Date:2015-12-15

Husky Rescue first released The Long Lost Friend back in 2013, the first album with the new line-up of founder Marko Nyberg, and newcomers Johanna Kalén and Antony Bentley. Now they've re-released it, this time massively expanded, with sixteen new songs on top of the original eight. With so much new material, it's hard to understand why it wasn't just released on its own, but the quality of the original set is such that I don't think people will complain all that much.

The Long Lost Friend starts off deceptively quiet, coming off as a standard, if pleasant, set of ambient smoothness.  But it continues to pick up energy through the original material, culminating in the joyous "Tree House", jam packed with new vocalist Johanna Kalén's bouncy yet subdued singing, synchopated beats, a Hammond organ, and even something of a gosepl choir towards the end. This sound is just so good, it's like walking along a dirt road, minding your own business, and then tripping over this huge rock. Only then you realize it's not a rock, it's a diamond. And you just want to hug it forever. Seriously, I want to go to this mythical tree house where they're "serving fresh cupcakes and chai".

The band also makes forays into IDM, such as on "Colors", with its bleeping, crackling, flickering, and pattering electronics all jostling against each other fighting for elbow room. And the title track has a bunch of clickering, clattering beats skittering along over occasionally tweaked vocals reminiscent of Peaches.

The bonus material on the first disc slides back into more mellow territory for the most. "Deep Forest Green" has subdued guitar and possibly a slide whistle backing Kalén's whispery voice. "Wind in the Willows" is a bit peppier, with alternating vocals from Kalén and the guy built on some fun percussion and plucky guitar. There are a good number of electro pop confections to be found, like "Mountains Only Know", which hints at early Depeche Mode with its slightly goofy synths. "Sunrider" has a similar quirky vibe with a great, rickety keyboard melody and popping percussion.

Then there are sections of electro-experimental weirdness, like the instrumental "Pistachio Tree", which leads the generally stranger second disc with atonal pianos, jangling strings, woodblocks, and the aforementioned electronic oddities, and the droning, bass-heavy drifts of fuzz in "Sunrise in the Mist". "Jigsaw Puzzle" is true to its name, with robotic vocals locking together with inhuman electronics. Bizarrely, it's followed by the sweeter, poppier, semi-country sounds of "Far from the Storm" and "Onnellisuus", a pair of almost identical songs with female and male leads respectively, both of which would fit perfectly on an Air album.

With so many tracks doing so many different things, it's almost like a compilation album from half a dozen different bands. The group seems comfortable going abstract or pop, and anything inbetween. It's a lot to absorb, clocking in at around 100 minutes altogether, but the absorbing process is a pleasure. The original set is a fine, cozy album that should keep you warm through the winter with its amicable attitude, while the expanded material will take you to a lot of strange and wonderful places, if you're interested in the journey.

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