HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERon 4 April 2007
Think of cold, smooth ice. And imagine a warm, shimmering light appearing just under it.
That's what comes to mind with Husky Rescue's exquisite debut album, "Country Falls." The Finnish group reflects their chilly Helsinki winters with equally chilly pop, but filled with sunny warmth, as if on the first day of spring. Basically imagine Sigur Ros playing folk-pop.
It opens with a gentle stretch of shimmering synth, and a mellow little folkpop tune. "Sweet little kitten on the porch sleeps in the sun/The sunbeams climb up on the wall," Reeta-Leehna Korhola sings in a slightly breathless, wispy voice. "Small girls with sun warm hands cuddle bring him milk/then run after make castles in the snow/Jokers juggle in the air rainbow colored fountains of sugar waters flow..."
They dip into psychedelic pop in the kitschy, colorful "Summertime Cowboy," with all those whipcracks and jangling bells. But then they're back to the icy, sparkling sound of the first song -- ambient balladry, glitchy experimental tunes melting into creepy ballads, and little mellow guitar tunes that are smothered in shimmering, sparkling synth.
This edition also comes with an extra DVD, which contains three music videos. "New Light of Tomorrow" is a spare, eerie video, with a young man having a vision of a spacesuited angel, while "Summertime Cowboy" is a kooky, neon playground. And "City Lights" is a shifting video of a young woman carried away by a love song on the car radio (come on, we've all done it), who has a dream of herself dancing in green fire.
Husky Rescue is the brainchild of Marko Nyberg, who apparently wanted to make expansive, warm music to counter the cold up in Helsinki. So he collected around twenty musicians to make the right sound for "Country Falls" -- and the result is so cohesive in sound, it almost sounds like a concept album.
Almost every song is based on a little guitar melody. Sometimes Husky Rescue dip into catchy electric riffs and solid drums (like in the poppy "Summertime Cowboy"), but usually they stick to gentler, folkier material with the odd droning riff here and there, and the occasional burst of murky drumming..
And they're all wrapped in delicate layers of shimmering synth, which sound like a soundtrack for the Northern Lights. Sometimes they're glitchy, gurgly or tinkly, and sometimes they're epic sweeps of sound. And they're interspersed with devilish little laughs, robot voices and ambient sweeps of exquisite sound.
Really, that would be enough to recommend this album in itself. But it's topped with vocals from two artists: Korhola's pretty, slightly breathless voice, and Nyberg's slightly stilted, distant voice. Both of them sing songs of warmth, hope, "cotton clouds," lullabies to a "tiger," and the sweet plea, "Would you treat me right if I am kind/Would you like me more if I can smile/Would you set on tears if I start to cry/Would you take me there last one more time?"
"Country Falls" is an exquisite mixture of folk-pop and electronica, and it sounds like the end of winter when the spring sun starts to shine. Absolutely astounding.