Without the benefit of actually hearing this precocious and gorgeous debut album, one might be forgiven for mistaking Husky for a sly Portlandia-style parody of a modern indie-folk troupe. Three members of the quartet sport entrancingly rococo names: Husky Gawenda, Gideon Preiss, Evan Tweedie (the only member spared, Luke Collins, is the drummer). Photographic evidence of theMelbourne group shows a recurring motif of acoustic guitars, tambourines, checkered shirts, and beards.
It is the triumph of Forever So that it manages to both make a virtue of clichÃ© and transcend it. Gawenda’s breathy, tremulous voice, which pitches somewhere between Will Oldham and Elliott Smith, inhabits intricate, thoughtful songs with deeper roots than seem instantly apparent. The young Paul Simon haunts “History’s Door” and “Animals & Freaks”; “Fake Moustache” and “Tidal Wave” drift languidly towards the proggier tendencies of old-school folk-rock forest fairies as Pentangle and Fairport Convention.
Pretty though these more elaborate conceits are, Husky are not — at least, not exclusively — whimsical pastoralists: “Don’t Tell Your Mother,” the album’s highlight, is a grimly direct dispatch of gothic gloom.