Husky Rescue

Ghost Is Not Real

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Leave it up to a band from Finland to make a lap steel guitar sound downright extraterrestrial. Following on the heels of the band's critically acclaimed first album and the slew of rare vinyl records and EPs independently released by the group's founder, Marko Nyberg, Husky Rescue is poised to divide and conquer, albeit gently, on their second album, Ghost Is Not Real. Nyberg is in many respects an apt set builder -- his strengths lie in his ability to set a scene and provide a hazy, gauzy atmosphere for Reeta-Leena Korhola's fragile vocals to hang in. And this is why comparisons to Air come so readily -- like Air, Nyberg aims for a feeling, not an explicit narrative. Granted, Nyberg's instrumentation is very Air-like as well; squinchy retro synthesizers and acoustic guitars abound, as well as the occasional alto flute (an immediate touchstone for Air's 10,000 Hz Legend). "Diamonds in the Sky" sounds a lot like Air, all the way from the acoustic guitar loop to the synth whooshes and sensual, if cryptic, vocals. But unlike their French counterparts, Husky Rescue is just a smidgen more rock & roll, which might be one of the reasons why they were able to hitch a ride on the Lollapalooza train the year before this album arrived in stores. Most tracks are able to handle this aspect; "My Ghost Home," for example, manages to lasso elements of indie rock and electronica together to memorable effect, and it's the best track on the album as a result. The one outright rock & roll track on the album, "Nightless Night," feels a little contrived, though -- Husky Rescue is at their best when they're loping along on gentle synthesizers, and in this instance they sound somewhat stiff and uncomfortable. The band battles with self-conscious rock & roll and slightly limp slow songs (the three-part "Blueberry Tree" sequence grows overpoweringly saccharine at times), but they're ultimately saved by Nyberg's whimsy and inventiveness.

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