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Huon continues the winning tradition of sleepy mellifluous pop music from Down Under (The Clean, The Chills, The Go-Betweens, Straitjacket Fits). A finely pedigreed quartet whose collective resume features tenures in other Australian indie pop ensembles such as The Cannanes, Cat's Miaow, Hydroplane, and Driving Past, Huon generally tends toward the warm somnolence of such noise-pop greats as Galaxie 500, Black Tambourine, and Yo La Tengo, but their anything-goes attitude grants them the flexibility to draw on top of that blueprint, layering in disco garnishes, found sound ambience, New Wave-inspired keyboard fugues, scratchy samples, and extended hypnotic electronic noise collages. Still, you always wind up returning to the endearingly subdued vocals of David Nichols and Mia Schoen, alongside quiet, deliberate guitar strum and hazy, wandering keys. It's a really good combination, comforting but far from boring, mixing up pop (minus the pretension) and psych (minus the paranoia).

Rounding out the quartet are bassist Ellen Turner and guitarist Andrew Withycombe. Huon, which took its name from a certain variety of Tasmanian pine tree, has been remarkably busy since forming in 1998, issuing three full-length recordings on Boyracer leader Stewart Anderson's 555 Recordings and two more on Florida-based Animal World, the brilliant, generously sized 1999 release Songs for Lord Tortoise (the title comes from Nichols' adolescent misunderstanding of the title of The Cramps' Songs the Lord Taught Us) and the subsequent 2002 album Answers to Lucky. On that latter release, Huon has continued to perfect their gracefully somnolent style of organ-spiked dream pop to stunning effect, turning in 16 short melodic drowsers replete with quiet boy/girl vocals and subtle neo-pyschedelic passages.

Huon provides still more evidence of Australia's flourishing and fantastic independent music scene. If their dreamy, eclectic pop music appeals to you, make sure to check out the members' earlier projects.

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