If there were awards for Most Beautiful Band, Husky Rescue would surely be in the running. As the Finns take to the Luminaire’s stage, I try to recall seeing so much blond hair in one place and eventually give up. It’s not just that they’re (mostly) blond, but they are luxuriantly blond. Songwriter-bassist Marko Nyberg is a case in point – his mane reaches his shoulders and shines.
Nyberg is in town to promote his forthcoming second album Ghost Is Not Real and he’s brought a rag-tag collection of friends to play instruments for him. They’re slightly varied from those who appear in the album’s press shots – Nyberg’s ensemble back-up cast appears to operate on a revolving door policy. What’s odd is that, as principal songwriter, he chooses to play bass. Does he think bassists look coolest?
He’s certainly the tallest member of the band, and the Luminaire’s glitterball only just clears his head, but the task of fronting the band is left to exquisite vocalist and keyboard player Reeta-Leena Korhola. Her chanteuse style, with just a hint of accent, reminds most of Saint Etienne‘s Sarah Cracknell. In looks, she’s a supermodel; in voice she’s effortlessly sassy, soothing and sensual.
In amongst the pouts and struts, an especially pleasing touch is steel guitar slides from Miika Colliander (we assume it’s him anyway), weaving an irresistible melancholic edge to the ambient-pop sentiments of new single Diamonds In The Sky. Elsewhere, band members alternate between instruments.
For those of us who’ve not heard 2004 debut Country Falls, much of the set is new, and with the new album not set for release until January, tonight’s packed-to-the-rafters gig feels more like a showcase rather than anything the audience know and can get its teeth into. With excellent sound balance, much of the set demonstrates a band at ease with their instruments and each other. They smile at us, encouraging us to feel as good as they do. The audience oblige, swaying merrily to the tunes.
The ambient, chill-out pace and lushly constructed melodies are momentarily interrupted by a number about missing cottages in the Finnish countryside, and there’s a moment of chaos on drums when their master decides to let rip a la Animal. But these moments of involvement are exceptions in a set that largely washes over the crowd like a warm bath. As the band all end the set with a synchronised hands-in-the-air closing pose, it’s been some way from earth-shattering. But Husky Rescue’s peaceful soundscapes leave their audience with smiles on their faces.