Green Mist

Next Stop Antarctica

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Julien Poulson formed the first lineup of the Green Mist in his native Tasmania, a small island off Australia's southern coast. Hence the album title. But if Next Stop Antarctica is any indication, Tasmania is strangely akin to the desert southwest of the United States: country blues, Mexican folk music, and atmospheric Hollywood soundtracks co-mingle freely across these ten tracks of largely acoustic indie rock. Even the shakuhachi (a Japanese bamboo flute) that features prominently on opening instrumental "Black Louie's Ambergris" sounds more Navajo than Asian in its context. But Green Mist is no mere Calexico rip-off; the southwestern elements of Poulson's cinematic music generally stay in the background, adding detail to the listener's twilit mental pictures without forcing images of banditos and flamenco dancers into the proceedings. About evenly split between spacious instrumentals and vocal tracks mostly starring the Neko Case-like Tracy Redhead on lead (although Poulson's mellow growl, like a more relaxed Nick Cave, appears as well), Next Stop Antarctica mostly maintains a relaxed, mid-tempo lope, as on the outstanding mandolin-driven pop song "Roads and Cars," but noisy rockers like "The City Is Sinking" and the epic closer "Something to Believe In" keep things from getting too somnambulant.

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