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Ship of Light

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Album Review

The third outing from this Helsinki-based crew is an impressionistic voyage through icy Nordic soundscapes and atmospheric pop, with captain and head dream weaver Marko Nyberg at the tiller, deftly navigating his band through little-charted interstices of sound — touching on orchestral grandeur, acoustic folk, hazy synth-draped ambience, and surprisingly robust rock — and of emotion — evoking both wistful sweetness and dark, melancholic gloom without fully succumbing to either. If that description makes the album sound like so much amorphous sonic wallpaper, well, it does make for perfectly lovely background music, but it's also got a bit more character than many similarly inclined operations. Once again, Reeta Vestman (née Korhola)'s wispy vocals — texturally slight, even babyish (and certainly far from husky), but striking nonetheless — provide a crucial focal point, whether menacingly whispered (as on "When Time Was on Their Side"), layered over themselves (as on the curious, sing-song quasi-lullaby "Beautiful My Monster"), paired with Nyberg's or left to their lonesome plaintive purity. But her voice is only one on an album full of distinctive sounds — symphonic and synthesized, ordinary and otherworldly — that are regularly blended in fluid and intriguing ways. Ambient-folk interlude "Grey Pastures, Still Waters," for instance, intersperses woodland animal noises and alien spaceship bleeps over a bed of placid, space age lounge; shape-shifting album standout "Wolf Trap Motel" spends over half of its length as a gentle, electric piano-led instrumental before a fleeting, glorious French horn note ushers in Vestman's vocal, an enchanting transformation even if she does little more than list the names of the days. Across the spectrum from these dreamy offerings are the livelier and somewhat more commonplace likes of "Fast Lane" and "We Shall Burn Bright," driving rock tracks which call the Arcade Fire to mind in their anthemic urgency, bringing loud guitars and drums to the forefront without lacking for the sonic inventiveness present throughout the album. They aren't bad songs, but their energy feels somewhat out of place here, coming off in this context as cluttered and pedestrian, and highlighting the challenges of combining expansive and adventurous soundscaping with direct, conventionally minded songwriting. There is, though, at least one entirely successful marriage of melody and moodiness: "Sound of Love," a simple, circular tune with a taut, danceable beat that pairs shadowy oddness and an instantly ear-catching hook, and forms a welcome portal — or should that be porthole? — into Ship of Light's lush, luminous leisure cruise. ~ K. Ross Hoffman, Rovi

Customer Reviews

Pure beauty

If you have not discovered Husky Rescue yet then you are in for a treat. It is very difficult to assign this group to a particular genre and it is one of those albums that on the first few listens "I just didn't get it"!

If you are new to this group, then I actually suggest you start with their album "Country Falls" first, then progress to "Ghost is Not Real" before embarking on this album.

Their music is so enchanting with soft flowing melodies, interesting licks/handles and clever use of ambience. I am trying to compare them to a group but can't seem to do it. I almost feel it is Lemon Jelly meets Air meets Royksopp meets Blue States.

Give it a punt!


Formed: 2002 in Helsinki, Finland

Genre: Electronic

Years Active: '00s

Inspired by film, photography, art, and the climate in its home country of Finland, Husky Rescue was formed by Marko Nyberg in 2002. Nyberg went under the name Husky Rescue while recording the debut record with about 20 musicians and singers. Country Falls, an ambient pop collection with subtle hints of country, was released internationally on Catskills Records in October 2004 and in the United States on Minty Fresh in spring 2005. In order to play live, Nyberg added Reeta-Leena Korhola (vocals),...
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Ship of Light, Husky Rescue
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