Reviews of Garnet
Watch Husky Burn - Garnet
by Jay Snyder (Hellride Music)
October 16, 2013
Has it been 3 years since I talked to North Carolinian, instrumental rockers, Husky about the long awaited release of their 3rd album Garnet? Holy cow, it has. To be honest, I had almost given up hope that this album would get a release, but patience does prevail once in a while. Fans who loved The Sea King as much as I did will finally get their day in the sun whenever this record drops next month on translucent vinyl thanks to Gotta Groove Records out of Ohio. Oh yeah, just don’t call these cats Husky anymore, you dig? They are now Watch Husky Burn thanks to a few other barking huskies out on the trail who would have probably fought for the name and won. Just glad these guys didn’t have to jump into the same shit-storm that Middian did a few years back. But that my friends, is a story for another time.
The real reason I’m here is to talk about Garnet and all of the magic contained within it. This is the pitch-perfect continuation of the ideas fleshed out on the band’s highly underrated masterpiece, The Sea King. Not only did the band get an opportunity to milk those beautiful Garnet Amplifiers for all their worth, but they also got a chance to record the album in a big, beautiful music venue known as the Tremonti Music Hall. The elegance of the approach the band took this time around leads to an equally elegant album of new material, one that’s as watery and ominous as the finest stuff The Sea King mustered up, but definitely not lacking in new ideas. If the last record resided in lush, maritime splendor, Garnet is definitely richer in “Earth” tones.
Opener, “The Right to Question a Genius,” creates a sonic sunrise that’s like a bluesy, southern counterpart to bands such as Ash Ra Tempel, Floyd, Hawkwind, Goblin, Titan, and Neu. Whereas a lot of instrumental bands are all about tossing you endless streams of solos and hard to follow technical razzle dazzle, WHB could care less about being esteemed soloists. Nope, leave that to Liquid Tension Experiment, the Husky sound is about delving into a singular theme and exploring it till completion, adding slight fluctuations as time passes, and wrapping the listener in a cozy blanket of warm, well-woven sound. On this first track, we load up our provisions, women, and livestock, setting sail into the unknown, otherworldly hum of Phil Strickland’s multiple FX pedals and oscillating, circular guitar loops, more than a bit reminiscent of Ash Ra’s sky touching work circa Inventions for Electric Guitar. The heavenly Garnet amplification of Phil’s instrument, as well Mark Hadden’s low-end (also Garnet amplified) really take off whenever the song actually starts to find its shape, led by a driving groove on the bass and drummer Nate Wilkinson’s punk-laden, motorik inspired beats. The saltwater sweet sting of Strickland’s reverb and delay drenched melodies pour, ooze, and droop all around the tautly syncopated rhythms; every note plucked and held with the distinct motive of keeping the vibe tightly knit, the experience rendered almost soundtrack-like in the way it unfolds. Little details creep in just when you least expect them…Nate reversing the way he plays the beat or adding a blink n’ miss it fill amidst the swooping melodic hooks, the guitars rising into bluesy fuzz and then dropping off into serene FX loops and a distant acoustic guitar…the experience is immersive in every way imaginable. A monstrous, hard-edged, hard-rock riff brings this one safely back to harbor. It’s one of the heaviest riffs I’ve heard the boys lay into yet…
That is until “Song for Jerry” manifests itself into a full-blown, fuzz-blasted blues rocker that really shoots off into the stratosphere on the wings of big, gristly guitar bends ala Hendrix wandering lost in the southern swamps. It starts off dreamy, soft, and soulful…sinking, submerging guitar licks repeating and cycling into hypnotic ripples of wavy groove amidst a straight-ahead, punk rock beat etched firmly into Madden’s fluid low-end rudder. Phil’s guitar eventually careens off the beaten path, the riffs making a hard turn for a direct blues approach with the rising complexity of his performance really spittin’ oil and firin’ up the old smokestack lightning. Occasionally he breaks off into a soaring lead bit while letting a tapestry of FX pedals and intense phasing (during the finale) compliment his work. With the help of his steadfast oarsmen keeping rhythm, the song reaches several apexes which warrant return voyages. Hot damn, these first two tracks are some of the most energetic workouts I’ve ever heard from this crew!
So, it’s only natural whenever WHB slinks into a triple XXX marked barrel of slow, seafarin’ blues on “Malamute.” You can consider this one a Husky “standard.” It’s played more from the hull than the crow’s nest if you know what I’m saying. A whitewater rush of jittery space-noise creates ambience and splashes on Mark’s sludgy, bass mantras. It’s not long before Phil plies his trademarked, blues-singed fuzz to the murky, nautical rocking with Wilkinson’s 4/4 pocket beats left to measure up the situation and carefully join the fray after the rest of the boys set the tone. The roughshod boogie flops and turns in dizzying swirls of seasickness, the main riff ratcheting up in intensity a lick at a time until everything leans to on a tribal, punchy tom roll before exploding into a mutinous, loud as fuck, 6-string burial at sea dirge. The milky, cloudy jamming of “Icewater Mansions” mimics the break of the tide on the beach and its gradual pullback towards the deep thanks to thick layers of tidal ebb n’ flow in the sullen combination of the bass and guitar. Rolling low-end billows beneath the somber echo of the guitars, reverb/delay/flange accoutrements spread out upon the long abandoned mess hall table of a lost ghost freighter. It’s deceivingly beautiful, but still sinewy and chewy thanks to sparse outbursts of hard-rock riffing and Nate’s crashing cymbals. This isn’t background music in the least, but rather instrumental bliss to forget the ground you’re standing on in this place and time. Much of the same can be said about “In A Vacuum” though this piece is heavier on the blues ideals, and incorporates all but the slightest buzz of distortion into its blueprint; definitely another roaming jam that wouldn’t feel out of place on The Sea King. Great listening for staring out the porthole and watching the ocean whizz by, plentiful in its inviting, bluesy hooks and churns.
“Wheels” is an extremely experimental piece that sounds like David Gilmour playing guitar for Zombi, reconvening the band with the upbeat, shrooms at sea psyche-outs of the album’s first two pieces. A hymnal, amplifier buzz masquerades itself as percussion, Strickland stringing the ambience into web-like audio collages with his guitar, and Wilkinson buttressing the melodious, kraut-rock freak-out with an incessant, atmospheric kick drum presence pounding ‘neath the moonlit deck. Hadden’s bass swells and suckles the toughest ocean liners into a whirlpool of trouble, as the pacing battering rams itself forward to unexplored American coasts. Eventually, Phil grapples onto a series of sidewinding, blues riffs that are draped from stern to bow in FX…the riffs' placement within the context of the song seeming very similar to the way that Gilmour would add huge atmospherics to those Floyd classics. I’ll bet Magellan would have killed for these guys as the house band on his boat during his expeditions. Closer, “Simple Blues” sounds just like its title…a gracious blues jam with acoustic guitars and locked-on rhythms cresting throughout its every inch.
I’m thrilled to death over Garnet. It’s heavy in all of the right spots, and filled to the brim with introspective playing, soundtrack-esque layers, and mystical, psychedelic atmospheres. If you’re a track skipper, you should probably adjust your listening style for this one. I wouldn’t dare play Garnet in that fashion…it doesn’t really work. You have to start at the beginning and go till the end every time. Each listen has revealed new sounds and nuances in every track. I never thought we’d see a follow-up to The Sea King, honestly speaking, but Garnet was worth the wait and then some. Watch Husky Burn may not be a band that puts out a release year after year, but their stuff is deserving of the anticipation. File this in the highly recommended category!
Reviews of The Sea King
Band : Husky
Album Title : The Sea King
Label : Self Release
Release Date : March 2008
Review : CD
With 8 tracks inspired by 35007, Kinski, Allman Bros, Mogwai, Tortoise and Ry Cooder this North Carolina trio Husky provide a damn good album. The sound of the music ranges from ambient trippy to steadily driving, but it keeps the same atmospheric, eerie-soundtrack quality throughout. Beautiful and endearing.
The songs range in length from around one minute with off we go track “Drunkard” to 11-minutes with my favorite track “Aboard the relic” But The Sea King shouldbe listened to as a whole, for indeed, it is a concept album, revolving around the largest vessel ever built in Maine ‘the Sea King’. The opening wash of the waves, the bell and the organs, guitars coming up in the background would sweep the listener away on a wonderful journey around the globe. “Flagship” is a masterpiece of psychedelic drone, guitars and electronic effects merging into a potent whole creating a natural high. With a pounding beat and throbbing electronics, “Mayans vs martians” is scorching. “Aboard the relic” and “Red right returning” is a turn for the heavier with meatier licks and a thicker rhythm section that has bit more rage and muscle to them, “Trading on high seas” is however, a very smooth ride, metamorphosing slowly over its nine minute length with tremendous subtlety. It's a hypnotic and soothing piece..”Leeward and easy” is the last track. Four minutes of slow, lazy blues groove with windecho laid over the top. The fuzz guitars kick-in and it all goes a bit Monkey 3, and our sea voyage is drawing to a close now as ‘the Sea King’ sunk in a bad storm.
Using a flow of music that resembles the ebbs and tides of the shores the sea king anchored during its 40-year service, the wash of music is constantly shifting throughout the album,I suppose what Husky excels best at would be tasteful, simple, expressive songwriting that doesn't include any wasted notes.
With its flawless musicianship and emotional delivery, this album is a winner all the way.
From Sea of Tranquility:
Husky - The Sea King
Few bands are as appropriately named as North Carolina's instrumental trio Husky. With an epic sound that's doomy, hypnotic and spacious — guitarist Phil Strickland has learned a thing or two from listening to The Edge — these three guys move well beyond the drone in which so many of their peers find themselves mired. In fact, once you realize that Husky's second album, The Sea King, is based loosely on the story of a 273-foot-long cargo ship of the same name — the largest vessel ever built in Bowdoinham, Maine, according to the band — the music makes a lot of sense. The disc opens with the clanging guitar and sense of adventure that is "The Drunkard," signifying the ship's maiden voyage. It journeys through fat fuzz, psychedelic drone, hazy shades of blues and ambient storms before concluding with "Leeward and Easy," an expansive, alternately violent and melancholy piece that represents the ship's demise in the spring of 1917 as it sank in the New York Harbor with a load of coal. Freeform and foreboding, moody and monumental, the music of Husky deserves to be heard beyond its niche audience.
Added: January 30th 2009
Reviewer: Michael Popke
Score: 4 1/2 Stars out of 5
from Progression Magazine Issue #55 (Fall/Winter 08):
Husky - The Sea King
2008 (CD, 51:31)
Style: Instrumental Post Progressive Blues
Husky is an instrumental trio from Charlotte, NC that adheres to a muscular brand of stoner rock incorporating garage, grunge, blues and post-rock influences into atmospheric soundscapes that challenge conventional song structures.
Inspired by the story of the largest vessel ever built in Bowdoinham, Maine, The Sea King is evocative of a creaky, old workhorse of a ship, proudly pushing against the ocean currents. The music has an expansive quality, marshaling swirling psychedelic jams with heavy doses of melodic fuzz: It's Mudhoney gone prog.
Phil Strickland's echoing guitar at times sounds like a bad hangover, while bassist Mark Hadden and drummer Nate Wilkinson hypnotically pound away at the subconscious. These compositions seem to flow into each other, creating a tidal wave of emotion that crests in the heavy blues once favored by bands like Blue Cheer or the MC5.
Prog purists may find Husky's 10-minute epics lacking in complexity, but listeners who enjoy atmospheric, blues-soaked improvs are sure to find plenty here to groove with. -- Mark Newman
Sound: 3 stars out of 4
Composition: 3 stars out of 4
Musicianship: 3 stars out of 4
Performance: 3 stars out of 4
Total: 12 stars out of 16
from Hellride Music:
Husky – The Sea King (Self-Release)
By Jay Snyder
October 23, 2008
I’m going to lay this one right on the line. The Sea King is the best instrumental disc you’re going to hear all year…period. Charlotte, NC’s magical trio Husky return with their stunning follow-up to their first opus Circle the Wagons. Tranquil, oceanic bliss turns to rolling waves of thunder all throughout The Sea King.
When you talk about records creating a mood or a feel this album is the place to go. You really get the feeling that you’re floating the high seas on a doomed trade ship and the eerie sensation permeates every note, bluesy guitar lick and measured beat contained on the album.
I was a big fan of the band’s debut but on a recent afternoon spent with that album (on a better stereo); the drum sound was so far in the background that I could barely make out a single hit. The problem is fixed on this record as Nate Wilkinson’s steadfast pacing is as central to the band’s sound as a crow’s nest was in protecting a ship from impending disaster. He sounds like he recorded his parts in the same room as the rest of the guys. On Circle the Wagons it felt like Phil Strickland (guitar, keys) and Mark Hadden (bass) got their groove on upstairs and left Nate somewhere in a dank basement to hit with all his might and never be heard. To make a long story short; Nate gets to showcase his stuff here and add his own subtle touches to a record full of moody, weather-worn gems that smolder akin to embers in a dying fire. Not much attack element here just thick, atmospheric jamming that pushes all the right buttons with me.
“The Drunkard” sets the tone for our voyage’s dawn departure. Goods are loaded, the anchors weighed and calming waves of southern distortion wash over the senses, giving the image of Dylan Carson aimlessly wandering the south; lost amongst the finest riffage to be found below the Mason-Dixon Line. Don’t let the subtlety fool you as the voyage turns rocky in the wake of the keyboard driven, psychedelic post-stoner rock of “The Flagship”. Here the calm is trades for storm that sees the band making port and raising hell at a familiar watering hole on the travel itinerary. The high-energy groove on display here is sure to leave the locals in an uproar. After a hard night out on the town the ship sets sail until dusk descends, bringing with it the ambient keys and haunting, ultra-distorted bass murk of “Mayans vs. Martians”; a composition designed to uplift the spirits. Atmospheric guitar swells ratchet up the memorization level to 11, while deftly playing off the rhythm section and floating free form key arrangements that wander in the background like a distant, wayfaring ship.
“It doesn’t get more entrancing than this,” was a statement that ran through my head…that is until a tidal, 11 minute epic, “Aboard the Relic” crashed against the bow of my mental vessel. Creeping in slowly with a fog of repetitive bass groove and slow-motion southern guitar boogie, Husky takes their good ol’ time to unfold the horizon into view. When things blur into focus the expansive sound emanations chart a course of untold riches. Silky smooth guitar riffs keep foot firmly planted in southern mythos while the rhythm section reels in a hypnotic swirl that always follows the guitar’s shimmering leads. Eventually a crushing blow is dealt with peace dissolving into a blast of towering amplification and lofty, dinosaur percussive crashes. Never content to travel the same route twice; Husky return to even more soothing sound ripples of swaggering, blues-based instrumentation thereafter before a slam-bang, shipwreck of a rock n’ roll finale leads the way down to Davy Jones’ Locker.
Fuzz n’ blues shape all of “Rejoice” and its triumphant docking at the trade desitination. Southern gospel of the highest instrumental order with meaty riffs and swift rhythmic force trading hits of the finest import opium which flows indubitably into Husky’s shining hour; “Trading on the High Seas”, without a doubt my favorite instrumental tune at the moment and one of my favorite of all time. This song creates an aura like nothing else out there and would be the perfect listen when the sun is setting and you’re staring out over the open seas. Blues-ier than any gospel hymn of the deep south and packed with intricate riffs that warrant repeat listening; it almost makes the immediately following southern sprawls “Red Right Returning” and “Leeward and Easy” meager in its wake. That’s not an insult to the album’s closing tracks as they are both phenomenal but “Trade on the High Seas” is so goddamn righteous that it normally gets 3-4 repeat listens whenever it pops up as I’m spinning the disc from start to finish. Phil’s guitar work is impeccable here; every single note used is a nugget of pure southern gold with Nate and Mark adding atmosphere beyond words in their deliberate, churning rhythms. The smoldering licks and peaceful rhythmic drive will haunt your mind for days and nights without any chance of being evicted from the premises.
I feel like I have to say it again, The Sea King is the best album without vocals you are going to hear this year. Nothing in my mind can compete with the state of hypnosis that Husky will induce. You will want to stop everything you are doing and make sure you stay on the voyage for its duration. These guys have truly stepped into a whole new world here. Circle the Wagons was a damn fine release but it can’t even hold a candle to what the trio accomplishes here. Hell, this album was so good that it had me on the internet looking for extended information on the concept it embraces; a mighty trade ship that sank before its time. Let us hope that Husky will not suffer the same fate as the doomed boat from which they dew their inspiration because instrumental music this majestic just doesn’t come along that often anymore.
Screw the new Don Cab (and I’m even a fan), The Sea King is the one instrumental album you need this year if you only purchase one instrumental album (so, I said it a third time...sue me!). If you need a few names to rest your mind at ease, combine two parts Earth, one part Rise (Anyone remember these southern madmen, I think they were from NC too!), a pinch of Souvenirs Young America (but even better), a garnish of Ashra for ambience and cosmic guitar flavor and with a tiny smattering of Karma to Burn for heathen explosions of volume and you’ve got a tiny idea of what Husky is about. This isn’t just an album but an honest to God voyage; a record that takes you on a journey and tells you a story through sound. Better clear up your travel log because after your maiden voyage aboard this rig, you’ll never need another vessel. Simply stated, this is instrumental perfection, now someone give these guys a record deal and all will be right in the world!
Husky - "The Sea King", 2008 (Self-release)
Who gives a ship about instrumentals?
HUSKY are an instrumental trio who have dedicated their record to The Sea King. For the aspiring history buffs,the Sea King was a large ship from Maine a long time ago that carried lumber, coal, cotton, salmon and hay to ports on five continents for 40 years from the late 19th century to the early 20th century.
Musically speaking, “Flagship” makes use of atmospheric guitars and some B3ish organ. “Mayans vs. Martians” starts with a drumbeat so similar to CHRISTIAN DEATH’s “”” , it could be a sample from the first record. We're talking the echo, the reverb and all. Coincidence? Matters not entirely anyways. The fuzz bass and delayed guitar parts cover it up to the summit so there you go. “Aboard The Relic” really shows HUSKY’s grasp of dynamics and emotion. The quiet passages are quite moving as they build themselves up to the big rock. “Rejoice” has the best soft/loud feel anyone could ask for. “Trading On The High Seas” has the best overall flow. The dynamics are to die for. HUSKY at it’s best. The buildup on “Red Right Returning’ is very immense. “Leeward and Easy” opens with some bass, Fender Rhodes (I suppose) and guitar noises. The noise transforms itself into big melodic parts as the bass drones on and keys vanish. After 4 minutes, the big rock slams in with the drums and everything, returning eventually to ambience. Overall “The Sea King” is a pleasing (and perhaps...educational?) listen. Fans of instrumental rock or the fuzzy stuff, head on over to the link below and judge for yourselves.
Husky - The Sea King
Review by John Pegoraro (StonerRock.com)
Release date: April 4, 2008
For their sophomore album, Charlotte, North Carolina's Husky has come up with a bit of a challenge. See, The Sea King is a concept album (based on “The Sea King” - the largest vessel ever built in Bowdoinham, ME, circa 1877), and Husky is an instrumental band. Even Peter and the Wolf had some narration, and that was more of straightforward yarn.
Those willing to invest the time can probably tie the individual tracks together into a cohesive narrative about a big fucking boat that one day sank in New York harbor, but for me, I'm just going to approach The Sea King as an album of songs and nothing more. Compared to their debut, the more landlubber named Circle the Wagons, Husky's certainly expanded their sound. While The Sea King still offers up plenty of dusty, Southern rock jams, there are also traces of straight forward rock (“Flagship”) and electronic fuzz n drone pyschedelia (“Mayans vs Martians,” “Rejoice”). Still, it's the semi-languid, sprawling tracks like “Aboard the Relic,” “Trading on the High Seas,” and “Leeward and Easy” that make The Sea King an impressive follow-up. The band seems most comfortable settling into a steady groove and letting the instruments express themselves. There's not a lot of fancy playing, but there's plenty of deep playing.
As with Circle the Wagons, The Sea King seems like one of those albums that's perfect for late night drives on long stretches of highway. It's good music to get lost to, and a fine collection of songs.
Husky - the sea king
Hierbei handelt es sich um eine Band aus North Carolina, USA, welche mit einem eher untypischen Sound für eine Ami-Stoner-Band aufwartet. Im Prinzip kann man, selbst wenn sich Husky auf namhaften Events wie dem Stoner Hands Of Doom und im Schlepptau bekannt berüchtigter Stoner wie Atomic Bitchwax oder Pearls And Brass tummeln, gar nicht wirklich von Stonerrock sprechen, denn das was die Band macht, klingt weder übermäßig groovy, noch sind sie so richtig heftige Rocker. Es überwiegen eher sehr melodische Linien im stetigen Wechsel zwischen laut und leise und das oft auch abseits vom allseits beliebten Drei-Akkord-Schema. Alle Stücke sind außerdem rein instrumentell. Ansatzweise vergleichbar wären sie mit dem nun vorliegenden zweiten Album mit 35007, wobei bei Husky dennoch mehr Wert auf die ruhigeren Momenten gesetzt wird.
((( Christian Peters )))
from www.AudioDrome.it (loosely translated from Google and Babelfish):
Husky - The Sea King
(2008, Self Release)
From the expanses of the North American prairie to the salted waters of the Sea of the Sargassos, Husky completely change atmospheres for their second album.
If Circle The Wagons seemed to be catapulted on a journey to follow Clint Eastwood on acid, time has changed the face and took the fattezze of Errol Flynn. The cappellacci cowboy have transformed into tricorni and Southern flags into that of Jolly Roger. It was difficult to expect a change of atmosphere so radical, but also it would have been not very cunning to believe that Husky would have remained firm on safe territories already explored. The only feature that remains unchanged is the feeling of star observing boundless spaces, in this case plowed from waves of all kinds, which increases or decreases in intensity along with the flow of the music. Drawing from the past, Husky changes the game: The Sea King is an album more united and more coherent, despite the debut already being of a high level. The group has managed to make the compositions more homogeneous and dynamics of the songs more organic: the listener is transported even better in this journey, without the feeling of forced passes or amalgamated evil.
The disc opens with a brief intro, which introduces "Flagship", an excellent stoner ride who does not need to relate to gender stereotypes, then moves on to the synthesizers of "Mayans vs. Martians ", which displays a hypnotic and ethereal melody. Starting from "Aboard The Relic" the atmosphere here is pretty rich, and is beginning to expand: The first images to rise afloat are those of the crew of The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner who once arrived in Antarctica. Desolazione and mud smelling greenish algae are from the master in the middle of the disk, then room is made for calmer and healthy waters, which finds the space and blues of "Red Right Returning".
Husky focuses their target for the second time in a row, improving itself and imposing as teachers in a genre that is full of new releases and new groups, refining a very personal style. Unfortunately, due also to poor promotion, it will be difficult that their name can attain the status that other much more known bands have now.
5 stars out of 5
from www.AudioDrome.it (untranslated):
Dalle distese della prateria nordamericana alle acque salate del Mar dei Sargassi, gli Husky cambiano completamente atmosfere per il loro secondo album.
Se in Circle The Wagons sembrava di essere catapultati in un viaggio al seguito di un Clint Eastwood sotto acidi, ora il volto è cambiato e ha preso le fattezze di Errol Flynn. I cappellacci da cowboy si sono trasformati in tricorni e le bandiere sudiste in jolly roger. Era difficile aspettarsi un cambiamento di atmosfere così radicale, ma d’altronde sarebbe anche stato poco furbo credere che gli Husky sarebbero rimasti fermi su territori sicuri e già esplorati. L’unica caratteristica che rimane invariata è la sensazione di star osservando spazi sconfinati, in questo caso solcati da onde di ogni tipo, che aumentano o diminuiscono d’intensità assieme al fluire della musica. Forti dell’esperienza passata, gli Husky aggiustano il tiro: The Sea King è un album più unito, più coerente, nonostante già il debutto fosse di alto livello. Il gruppo è riuscito a rendere le composizioni più omogenee e le dinamiche dei brani più organiche: l’ascoltatore è trasportato ancora meglio in questo viaggio, senza che si abbia la sensazione di passaggi forzati o male amalgamati.
Il disco apre con una breve intro che introduce “Flagship”, ottima cavalcata stoner che non necessita di rifarsi agli stereotipi del genere, poi si passa ai sintetizzatori di “Mayans vs. Martians”, che mette in mostra una melodia ipnotica ed eterea. A partire da “Aboard The Relic” le atmosfere, fino a qui piuttosto ricche, iniziano a dilatarsi: le prime immagini a salire a galla sono quelle dell’equipaggio di The Rime Of The Ancient Mariner una volta giunto in Antartide. Desolazione, alghe maleodoranti e fanghiglia verdastra la fanno da padrone nella parte centrale del disco, per poi lasciare spazio ad acque più tranquille e sane, in cui trova spazio pure il blues di “Red Right Returning”.
Gli Husky centrano quindi l’obiettivo per la seconda volta di seguito, migliorandosi e imponendosi come maestri in un genere che pullula di nuove uscite e nuovi gruppi, affinando uno stile estremamente personale. Purtroppo, a causa anche della scarsa promozione, sarà difficile che il loro nome riesca a spiccare e a raggiungere lo status che hanno altre band ormai ben più note.
5 stars out of 5
Reviews of Wagons
Husky-Circle the Wagons CD
Damn, I really dug this one. Husky are an instrumental trio from Charlotte, North Carolina who absolutely hit the nail on the head with this full-length that is chock full of soul, groove, pure rock n' roll and deep psychedelic influences. This is absolutely timeless stuff that definitely nods to a variety of influences (both classic and modern) but doesn't sound like any other instrumental act going out there. I mean this stuff rocks but unlike a majority of the instrumental bands out there, Husky makes careful use of pacing and restraint by letting the distortion rip in places where it really needs to but oftentimes they create these huge, atmospheric jams that explore so many areas that you wouldn't even expect them to go. "Stroll through the Holler" is a perfect example of the point I'm trying to illustrate. This track just continues to build up as it grooves along, getting louder and a bit distorted at times but always maintaining this huge groove and laid-back quality that make it an absolutely infectious listen while never turning the amps up to 11. They so carefully pace tracks like this that you just can't get them out of your head or even attempt to get bored with where they are going next.
They follow suite with other deep and thought provoking jams like the electrifying opener "Steam Engine" which is soaked in deep bluesy bass and dreamy psychedelic atmospheres before exploding at the end with some huge distortion and fuzzed out insanity and the title track is absolutely mesmerizing with it's beautiful and mellow stoner rock vibe that sounds straight out of an old-western film. These guys also know how to rock straight-up too when they aren't exploring their sound deep into the stratosphere. They have tight control of groove and good old fashioned rock n' roll rhythms with the all out jamming of "Patriach", "Chasing the Dragon" and "Under the Frisco Sun" (which still gets pretty spacey and jammed out) which all ebb and flow nicely, filled to the brim with hard rocking riffs that recall to mind everything from Clutch to blues to old school classic rock.
This whole record manages to not contain a single boring moment in a set of songs that are not afraid to space out and not just constantly hit you like a hammer in the face. The production is thick and clear but still has a live quality to it that really makes things go over that much better. I really don't think there is much touching up to the sound here as this is the kind of band that I could definitely imagine to not pull any punches live and just give you the meat and potatoes that you so righteously deserve, free and clear of any modern rock studio gloss just the way this sound should be. If you are in the mood for some seriously killer instrumental rock then definitely give Husky a listen. This record completely took me by surprise and has me on the edge to hear these guys live. They really don't sound like anyone off the top of my head but do you really need me comparing good tunes to other good music all the time? Get off your ass and get yourself some Husky!
Rating: 7 out of 7
www.StonerRock.com review of "Circle the Wagons"
Husky - Circle the Wagons
Review by John Pegoraro (StonerRock.com)
Release date: March 2006
With a name like Husky and an album called Circle the Wagons, my first thought was that I was in store for 45 minutes of traditional Southern hard rock - the sort of blustery, riff-heavy affairs, accented by a boisterous “Yeah!” or two (or 200), that are good for pounding canned domestic beer and raising hell and not thinking all that much.
The truth is decidedly different. If this Charlotte, NC instrumental band has anything in common with the aforementioned type of group, it’s that it draws from the same classic rock influences. However, Husky offers much more interesting interpretation than your standard issue lunkheaded act.
They’re more of a psychedelic jam band type of deal, one that takes the Southern style playing and filters it through a prism of Krautrock. Their bio states that they rarely play the same show twice, and based on the loose and fluid playing on Circle the Wagons, I can see why. I’ve listened to this album a number of times and each time have discovered a new facet to their songs, whether it’s in the pulsating drive of “Patriarch,” the banjo picking in the title track, the low-end groove of “Under the Frisco Sun,” or the subtle Hammond on “The New Husky Dawn.” Like all good jam bands, there’s a natural, organic fluidity to what Husky does.
There are a couple of weak spots on Circle the Wagons - the Indian-style chanting at the end of the first track seems forced, and while “Chasing the Dragon” isn’t that bad as an all out rock track, it seems out of place amidst the other ten songs. If you’re into Pharaoh Overlord, Slacks!, Queens of the Stone Age, Clutch, Clearlight, or the Allman Brothers, you’re certain to dig this as much as I did.
Concrete Web review of "Circle the Wagons"
HUSKY : “Circle The Wagons” (Self Release)
Husky are an independent 3 piece band from Charlotte, NC formed around the nucleus of Mark Hadden (bass), Phil Strickland (guitar, keys) and Nate Wilkinson (drums). The band has been together for about 6 years playing and their debut serves up 11 songs of instrumental lazily groovy rock. While their sound may lean more towards “Jalamanta” (Brant Bjork) and their meditative repetitive flowing towards Pharaoh Overlord, I hear a bit of a southern rock and chunky stoner influence as well, similar in nature to ZZ Top and Karma To Burn.
Fave tracks : “Steam engine” which opens the album at a 5.26 minutes, an comparatively smooth bass line rails away, but instead of the usual explosion of sound one’s come to expect, the music actually drifts into a rather minimalist shamanic groove backed by a cherokee chanting tribe, “Dalton” which retains a southern inducing marching rhythm.and “Indian” which is a 12.46 min tantric piece that presents a slightly variety of meditative environments.
The mostly instrumental album is superb from start to finish, creating a wonderful mood taking you on a hypnotic trip through North Carolina. If your taste in music leans towards some of the bands I’ve mentioned in this review then my feeling is Husky will fit nicely into your collection.
“Circle the wagons” is at its best while watching ‘Deliverance’ (J. Boorman) and ‘Dead Man’ (J. Jarmush) at the same time.
www.AudioDrome.it review of "Circle the Wagons" (loosely translated from Google):
John Wayne stopped the caravan.
The sun is tramontando and, as everyone knows, the night in the desert is cold and dangerous. In a few minutes under the guidance of severe John, the wagons are placed in a circle, you turn on the fire and the meat begins to cook, while women in the group preparing the beans and rest are men. From a wagon down three tizi, pull out the instruments and start playing: are the Husky. Starting from these assumptions, one would expect from an album sounds southern rock, instead artwork and themes are misleading. The Husky are from North Carolina and take the sounds sudiste only as a starting point, to venture into a unique and unexplored territory. Do not happen every day to find an instrumental album that manages to touch so many strands: the frame is made up of blues and psychedelic digressions, but these must be added schitarrate southern, modules that come to mind are even Kraftwerk (certainly not as sonority, and as structures), up to chants Indian posts at the end of "Steam Engine". In the midst of all this, could not miss Kyuss (we are always talking about the desert, suvvia), but also come to mind names like Los Natas and Pelican. In short, these three Yankees seem to be the trait d'union between seemingly distant worlds as the stoner, the kraut-rock and post-rock.
The Husky can propose in just over fifty minutes a range of atmospheres rich: from more relaxed groove, passing through cloud dreaming, up to distortions and dynamics more aggressive and typically stoner. Impressive is the ability to always choose the right moment in which to grow the song: cè not a distortion out of place, the music of the trio always manages to flow through intelligent solutions and arrangements much studied.
The southern version of Kraftwerk? The Earth, but always with guitar, bass and drums? Maybe. Certainly, un'autoproduzione high value.
4 Stars out of 5
www.AudioDrome.it review of "Circle the Wagons" (untranslated):
John Wayne ferma la carovana.
Il sole sta tramontando e, come tutti sanno, la notte nel deserto è fredda e pericolosa. In pochi minuti, sotto la guida del severo John, i carri vengono posti in cerchio, viene acceso il fuoco e la carne comincia a cuocere, mentre le donne del gruppo preparano i fagioli e fanno riposare gli uomini. Da uno dei carri scendono tre tizi, tirano fuori gli strumenti e iniziano a suonare: sono gli Husky. Partendo da questi presupposti, ci si aspetterebbe un album dalle sonorità southern rock, invece artwork e tematiche sono fuorvianti. Gli Husky vengono dal Nord Carolina e prendono le sonorità sudiste solo come punto di partenza, per avventurarsi in un territorio unico e inesplorato. Non capita tutti i giorni di trovare un album strumentale che riesca a toccare così tanti lidi: l’intelaiatura è composta da blues e divagazioni psichedeliche, ma a queste si aggiungono schitarrate southern, moduli che fanno venire in mente addirittura i Kraftwerk (non certo come sonorità, quanto come strutture), fino ad arrivare ai canti indiani posti alla fine di “Steam Engine”. In mezzo a tutto questo, non potevano mancare i Kyuss (stiamo sempre parlando di deserto, suvvia), ma vengono in mente anche nomi come Los Natas e Pelican. Insomma, questi tre yankee sembrano essere il trait d’union tra mondi apparentemente distanti come lo stoner, il kraut-rock e il post-rock.
Gli Husky riescono a proporre in poco più di cinquanta minuti una gamma di atmosfere ricchissima: dal groove più rilassato, passando per nuvolosità sognanti, fino ad arrivare a distorsioni e dinamiche più aggressive e tipicamente stoner. Impressionante è la capacità di scegliere sempre il momento giusto in cui far crescere il brano: non c’è una distorsione fuori posto, la musica del trio riesce sempre a fluire attraverso soluzioni intelligenti e arrangiamenti molto studiati.
La versione southern dei Kraftwerk? Gli Earth, ma sempre con chitarra, basso e batteria? Forse. Di certo, un’autoproduzione di altissimo valore.
4 Stars out of 5