Huski’s latest album is by lore, the album they originally started making last time round and they ended up getting the magnificent “Strangelove”. “H” however strips out all the guitar in this bouncy pop rock duo and places the emphasis firmly on dance pop.
Opener “Sleeps Over” starts strongly with lots of keyboard gadgetry and Melanie’s smooth vocals hushing over the very “phat” bass lines and the very 90′s piano that pulsate and vibrate throughout. “Senseless” returns in a massive seven minute low-fi club mix too with dirty bass lines, vocal looping and lots of elongating of the original track. I wouldn’t say its better than the original though – it lacks a certain step up that the original has although it certainly has its moments. “Something Real” is a new track and it has a playful main melody of electronic marimbas that really give the track a unique touch in its understated euphoria. A standout.
“First Light” turns the rock anthem into a late night plinkathon with an interesting off beat percussion loop and the guitars replaced by smooth keyboard synths. Even Melanie’s voice is synthed. The chorus is completely reworked and is vastly understated and lacks the originals punch. “Pandora Smiles” is another new track that certainly utilises the keyboard well as the track is ethereal and hushed and so each gentle tinkle sparkles more.
“Make Up” is a wonderfully silly song and this gets the epic trance treatment with lots of vocal cuts and big bass lines. Here the remix treatment works perfectly as a viable alternative to the original. “Dont Look Away” slows things back down again with a swirling number that again shows a lot of technical wizardry but doesn’t push a song out that immediately sticks in your head. Repeated listens help it get there but it just didn’t stick with me. “Strange Love” now becomes a club mix using the original synths as a good template. This version is more meaty and beatastic but again – I feel like a broken record. Huski have already made a great rock/synth track from it before and now it feels like a pre going out clubbing track.
“Close to the Edge” reminds me of Niki and the Dove. It’s certainly a real hark back to the glamour of brightness of 1990 with its big hair pop synths buzzing out and it certainly gives this version a completely different feel to the original. Closer “Red Bird” is previously unreleased and is a wonderful piano led ballad. With this one track suddenly its like the previous Huski burst back into the room and remembered that actually they are a kick-ass dancing riff rock emotional explosion of talent.
Somewhere during what appears to be a merge of a remix album and a vent for some new tracks in a disco light, that talent is washed about with too much cheap bass, vocal ooh/aahs on repeat and a lack of punch that is stamped over the duo’s previous works. I guess remix projects will always divide people. I’ll take guitar rock Huski any day,
Huski’s first of potentially two albums released this year, “Strangelove” hit the stores last week and features twelve stomping tracks to get your electro trash feet bouncing too.
Opening with single “Wartime Widow” you get a flavour of what’s to come. Harsh electric bleeping arpeggios, and perfectly blended drum and percussive beats collide with mashed up trashy guitars for the choruses with Melanie’s beautiful vocals which can flick between sensitive and roaring at the drop of a hat. The chorus is insanely catchy and it’s a strong opener. “First Light” is even more catchy as the duo veer towards uptempo rock with guitar hooks and rolling piano riffs over dual layered vocals adding warm to the harshness. The electronic alien sirens in the chorus are fun and it just blends into a sound that the first album hinted at but didn’t stray towards. Here in this album the overall production perfectly balances electronic and rock genres and merges them beautifully.
“Makeup” is just an electro-giggle in spandex. The lyrics and the delivery of them is comical just its all overlaid in an insanely addictive four chord progression with little instrumental flourishes which deceive you into thinking its a simple straight forward track. If this isn’t a club hit then everyone will have missed something very special. “Crying on the Telephone” veers towards Fischerspooner territory with buzzing keyboard notes almost fuzzy 16bit sounding with a chorus that spins around in your head long after you’ve stopped lifting, a great coda and fun “Hello?” section too. Normally these phone call moments in songs are awful and although it doesn’t top the fantastic “Well fuck you then” moment from Transistor, it’s still fun. “Close to the Edge” is a slower track that is about as close to a stadium ballad as the album gets and makes a nice change of pace.
“Three More Days” showcasese Pike’s ability to flex his electronic skills with all kinds of tricks and gdagets that make this the most straight forward dance track on the album. Single “Girl.Kill.Smile” showcases how rock and electronica fusion should be done with a raucous angsty track with an almost chant like melodic vocal riff shouting the tracks title. It reminds me of some experimental Soft Cell music from the mid 80′s – dark, dirty and seedy whilst sticking to you like glue. “Senseless” is another example of the seedier side of Huski with its grinding bassline and deep electric guitar chugging while Melanie purrs “I’ll drive you senseless”. Although it lacks specific song progression it holds a certain hypnotic charm instead that makes it alluring.
“Front Row Seat” is a blues track Huski style with traditional blues chord progression in the verses but given the spangled treatment. There is a directness with this track and simplicity compared to most tracks which sets it apart from the others until the final chorus. “Runaway” fronts electric guitar riffs over a dance/rock track with another simple yet insanely catchy chorus. I must apologise for saying the word catchy in this review too much, but I found myself tapping out most of the tracks with my pens and glue sticks at work after the first couple of listens of the album. It’s not often I’ll undergo public humiliation in the name of music. “Blind Steps” see’s the piano placed in the foreground of the main riff with a waltzing drum beat and an uplifting chorus as Melanie bursts into various different vocal streams and squeals her delight. The closer is actually a b-side from Make Me Your Picture, “Strangelove” and feels slightly different to the rest of the album as its production feels like the instruments are placed differently to the rest of the album. It’s a beautifully haunting track that’s equally hypnotic and soothing as it is slightly unnerving. I like the fact their no real drums in the track either, it’s just made up of pulsing bass rhythms and frequency flicks for percussion over the organs.
“Strangelove” surprised me at how ridiculously together and seemless the entire album is. I really enjoyed their debut album but this is a masterclass of electro-rock from start to finish and in a year that’s already given me some fantastic music, I find this slotted currently in my top 5 albums of 2011 easily. Buy it now and get your glitter balls and black lipstick out!
Huski finally unveiled “Strangelove” today which is available to buy on their website (www.huskimusic.com) and will be available on iTunes shortly. Also news that a second album that will be self entitled featuring six new songs and four rewritten tracks is welcomed too. That album will be out towards the end of the year. Get your Huski on!
Huski’s single “Wartime Widow” will now be released on 29th November with the tracklisting of:
1) Wartime Widow
2) Sleep’s Together
3) Wartime Widow (Enjoyed Remix)
We’ll be sure to pick up our digital copy – and talking of digital, you can also view a gig that was webcast and kept from Sept 25th. Jump here to have a noodle through the archives. Great show all round and everyone looks like they’re having a great time, on and off the stage.
Huski continue their returning ante upping with a new EP entitled “Wartime Widow” which is due for release on 22nd November. It will contain what appears to be a non-album track “Sleeps Over” and Wartime Widow has been confirmed as the opening track for the new album due early 2011. If you’ve not done so already, the free track Girl.Kill.Smile is an absolute must have.
We love all things Huski and now the electro-duo are back with new songs to showcase their second album entitled “Strangelove” due early 2011.
A new song entitled “Girl.Kill.Smile” is available to download once you sign up to Huski’s official mailing list and you can also download an Arcade Fire cover “The Suburbs” too, which is accompanied by a high velocity funkidecent video. Its fantastic news to know Huski wasn’t a one off album. There are UK gigs lined up for November too to run alongside the first single “Wartime Widow”. It’s a good day for ears today.
Huski, vocally fronted by the wonderful Maple Bee. released one single that contained two fantastic b-sides that I think everyone needs to know about – so here they are!
“Make Me Your Picture” is a great song, a stomping drum beat, strong hynpotic syntherizers and dreamy whispy vocal layers over the top. The song gives a great representation of the whole Huski sound as a whole and is great electro-pop rock with a twist.
The first of the two b-sides is “Interior Girl” which is catchy enough to be a single itself. It has a shimmy beat to it and a simple melody but with a chorus and great iteraction between three different vocal structures which when all working together in unison really push the song forward. There’s beauty sometimes in simplicity and this is a great example of it.
The second b-side is “Strange Love” which is a bit more 80′s experimental and showcase again how to make spangley explosive songs that still have a tinge of sadness and regret. I particuarly like how this track gathers pace without ever really having a proper drum track, its just lots of electronic pulses that push together. It makes for a refreshing sound.
You can pick up the single digitally still, and for any Huski or electro-pop music lovers, I heartily recommend it!
Only recently was I made aware that Maple Bee had been off doing more musical things! As one half of duo Huski, she has crafted an excellent album of strange electronica music and this is the lead single’s video “Undertow”. Expect a review in the near future…