Reviewed on Thursday July 31

Melbourne’s Husky didn’t quite make the splash they deserved with their superb 2012 debut, Forever So. Perhaps their brand of indie-folk didn’t come with enough mandolins or waistcoats to fit the trend. In any case, Husky’s return to the Sydney stage ahead of their new album is a welcome one, with a sold-out Newtown Social Club evidence that they’ll soon get another chance to capture broader attentions.

Twin Caverns fill the support slot tonight, playing a thoughtful hybrid of electronica and guitar-driven soul. The crowd is partially seated, but the Sydney duo perks things up with sprawling closer ‘Undiscover’.

By the time Husky arrive – boasting much more impressive hair these days, it must be said – the venue is packed tight. The cavernous tones of ‘Dark Sea’ come first, with every melody matched one-for-one by a flowing Husky Gawenda lyric. Despite the band’s nomenclature, however, it’s not all about the frontman – Husky’s signature is fashioned equally from the keys contributions of Gideon Preiss, who swirls his way over a ‘Tidal Wave’ solo and shares perpetual Simon & Garfunkel harmonies with Gawenda.

There’s still an element of ‘handle with care’ about what Husky do, and even the older favourite ‘The Woods’ feels like a long three minutes before its big exhale. However, the new album material on display tonight shows a concerted commitment to write more expansively and with more radio-friendly tempos. A commercial compromise? Not necessarily – while the new tracks are understandably not quite as rehearsed, they still reflect Husky’s patient dedication to songcraft.

When Gawenda says the new album will be out in October, he gets a cheer equal only to that which welcomes one of the band’s early triumphs, ‘History’s Door’. Then it’s the latest single, ‘I’m Not Coming Back’, and a promise that they will – though it comes even sooner than expected with a quick encore of two songs, ‘Hunter’ and another on which the four band members share two mics at the front of stage. When we see them next, Husky may well have another album of understated gems to share with an audience that owes itself the chance to hear them.

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