Review Summary: An interesting plunge into indie-folk’s experimental regions – one, however, that ends up feeling lost instead of resolute.Forever So
is kind of a double edged sword – on one hand, it is a refreshingly ambitious debut that bodes well for Husky’s future, but on the other hand it doesn’t seem to say very much throughout its elaborate composition. The balladry is rustic in a Fleet Foxes type of way, and it sways, skips, and meanders without the slightest hint of deliberation. Such an enlightened approach would normally draw praise from critics, and while the album makes irrefutable creative strides, it lacks the song crafter’s touch that makes Robin Pecknold’s work feel so authentic, or that makes Of Monsters and Men’s melodies so irresistible. This is an album that strives for profundity, but lacks the knock-out potential to deliver. To find out why, we must delve a little deeper into Forever So
If Husky were to be evaluated on their intentions alone, then their debut would be considered a resounding success. They do everything here that a folk enthusiast could hope for – the song structures are stripped-down yet unconventional, they vary their approach on a consistent basis, and everything coexists in a fashion that is harmonic but not effortlessly digestible. ‘Fake Moustache’ is a prime example of the way that Husky’s clashing stylistic experiments find peace with each other, featuring alternating acoustic strumming/picking, tribal drum beats, steadily audible bass, and unpredictable verses. Nothing seems to fit, but it all magically works. One of the main issues, however, is that not very many tracks are as memorable as the aforementioned work. The first half is stronger in that regard, with ‘Tidal Wave’, ‘The Woods’, and “Hunter’ all offering bits of melodic redemption, but even then it is challenging at best to find a reason to revisit Husky’s material – other than to pacify your burning curiosity as to why this sounds so damn intriguing, yet is absolutely forgettable at the same time. It boils down to more than just a lack of catchy choruses
, which isn’t always required – nay, is thankfully neglected – in many great musical pieces. It’s more like Husky has nothing to say. It’s an empty ambition; a powerless punch. There are simply too many anticlimactic moments, too many moments of indie grandeur built upon crumbling lyrics, and too few sweeping instrumental moments to snare one’s attention. Throughout all of its swirling ideas, Forever So
ultimately ends up nowhere.
In spite of this, Forever So
is still an album worth hearing…if for no other reason because it is completely and utterly different
. While its influences are rooted in conventional indie-folk, it does everything in its power to stretch those boundaries. The way that the classical piano sends an icy chill down the back of ‘The Woods’ is nothing short of commendable, while the long-winded ‘Farewell (In 3 Parts)’ introduces regal-sounding horns. There’s no shortage of ideas, which makes for an absorbing listen – even if it only lasts during that particular moment. Husky really isn’t that far off the mark. Their experimental ambition and artistic integrity is extremely promising, and with a little more focus, direction, and experience, they could be something special very soon. Until then, we’ll have to keep on wondering what Forever So
could have been if only it had a map to accompany its youthful drive to explore.