Chris Stokes: Husky Rescue – Ship of Light

Ship of Light

Once more I’ve checked my iTunes to see what music I’ve apparently listened to over the course of 2010 and it seems it’s slim pickings again.
I tend to stumble across new music rather than seek it out and if my music collection were a person, it would be a malnourished child snacking on great big burgers filled with empty calories followed by a carrot.
Occasionally there is a whole and hearty meal but it just seems out of place on the table. My iTunes child prefers to just pick at the sides, downloading a superb track or two from an excellent album, but leaving the rest, later finding a free sampler of over 2000 tracks, taking the lot, only to find the first few tracks are shite and the rest just sits on my hard drive growing mould.

With this in mind, my albums have boiled down to High Violet by The National, Bring Mich Nach Hause by Wir Sind Helden and Ship of Light by Husky Rescue.
Seeing as Bring Mich Nach Hause was on the whole pretty weak, aside from the key track Alles, I’ve decided not to write about it. Out of the remaining two, I’ve chosen to discuss Husky Rescue’s Ship of Light, because although I quite like High Violet, there are really only two stand out tracks for me and the rest sounds like a slightly different band that doesn’t interest me as much.

I believe I first stumbled across Husky Rescue via the site which linked to a remix of They Are Coming. After listening to it at home, my girlfriend, who knows all about music but rarely shares, recommended I also listen to ‘Sound of Love’. I did and enjoyed, but largely forgot about it.
It wasn’t until listening to a mix CD with friends and asking about a song that had caught my ear that I realised a pattern had formed. This was strike number three – the song I had been enjoying was Man of Stone, also by Husky Rescue, and it was time to buy the album.

I’m not very good at reviewing stuff or giving much insight, but the album is good. Real good. The tracks sit together well, like chapters in the same story and Husky Rescue’s distinct sound permeates the entire album, unlike the aforementioned High Violet which strays a little.

The album manages to successfully straddle genres of pop and eerie experimental, if there is such a genre. By this I mean it carries a similar atmosphere to Goldfrapp’s Felt Mountain but with the pace of Electrelane’s… well… everything. With the exception of but a couple, few of these songs would seem out of place on the dancefloor of any self respecting indie club, nor would they seem inappropriate play for the high brow beard stroking types to be seen bobbing their heads to.

I’ve probably mentioned before but I’ve had a heightened interest in pop music recently, largely because I have an urge to write an authentic pop song and for this, Ship of Light has been a great source of inspiration. It’s the perfect blend of catchy hooks, chic vocals, ambiguous lyrics (“I wonder what it means”), and fresh edgy sounds. At times it smells a bit like Air after a divorce, at others it’s quite like listening to Múm on a bad trip.

There’s a lot of smooth bass, and retro-electro/woodwind to be found but this is often hidden by a dark foreboding sense that you’re being followed by a broken robot who has learnt the human emotion of ‘pain’. I never know whether it’s learnt or learned. The songs start off gently enough, like a hot woman whispering in your ear as you drift of to sleep, but by the end it feel’s like you’ve just woken up in a bit of a sweat wondering why you ate that stilton so late.

I don’t usually grade things, but for me Ship of Light gets a solid 8 out of 10. It succeeds in offering something I haven’t heard before but retains accessibility and has even begun slipping itself into my every day conversations. I now can’t say ‘hello’ without then saying it again in a higher pitch and following it up with “love the sound of love”. Not that those are the lyrics, but just to illustrate a point.


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