Ship Of Light is the third album proper from Finland’s Husky Rescue, and while the first two were by no means lacking, this is the one they’ve been threatening to make all along.
At first it’s difficult to pinpoint why the jump has been made, as everything that was good about them remains – the beautifully icy string colours, imaginative touches of orchestration here and there, a quirky lyric or two. All are present and correct, with Reeta-Leehna Korhola’s cool voice offering a hint of Nina Persson as it floats above the softly brushed beats.
Where the progression appears to have occurred is in the songwriting. The emotion runs deeper this time around, and there is a real feeling of darkness turning to light as the record progresses, as if the sun has emerged from its enforced winter hibernation.
The Northern Lights then appear – or at least their musical equivalent – in the ghostly slide guitar sounds that open Man Of Stone. And yet when Korhola asks,”why must I wear a mask?” in the same song, the mood is uncertain.
One of the things that impresses most here is the band’s refusal to be hurried into hasty gestures. Wolf Trap Model starts with a thoughtful and poignant instrumental prelude of about two minutes, gently ushering in the vocal with a legato horn line. By recent single We Shall Burn Bright all has changed and the tone is far more affirmative, as if the community around the band have gathered to purge all bad feeling. If you’ve listened to the album all the way through, this is a moving point of resolution.
With softly grained melodies and the accomplished orchestration we come to expect from the Scandinavians, this is therefore a nocturnal winter treat from Husky Rescue. They offer so much more than your standard chill out fare, with songs that burn brightly in the darkness, and with words that can freeze you to the bone or, more likely, offer warmth in the coldness of winter. If this is the quality of record they’re going to offer from now on, they deserve every bit of recognition coming their way.