Dreamy Melbourne psych-pop band The Ancients return with third album Night Bus. Their first record for Chapter Music, Night Bus is an elegant, expansive guitar epic with twinges in all the right emotional places.
Baby-faced fretwizard Jonathan Michell’s eerie, often falsetto murmurings are set against swirling, soaring psych-pop, impeccably recorded by John Lee (Pikelet, Lost Animal) and Neil Thomason (My Disco, the Slits).
The six minute Molokai, a sweeping guitar symphony in miniature, was premiered in July on Impose Magazine. Blazing pop single Hey Now (premiered on Spin) is one of the catchiest things Chapter Music has ever released, while the gentle, introspective title track sees Michell musing over a trip on one of Melbourne’s infamous late night buses.
The Ancients were formed in the late 2000s by Michell after his tenure in celebrated supergroup Mum Smokes, who played a Dirty Three-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties in 2007, and whose 2009 double album Easy/House Music became an Australian underground hit.
The band’s lineup has shifted around Michell over the years, but on Night Bus it includes keyboardist Yuko Kono (of Japanese band My Pal Foot Foot), drummer Julian Patterson (a former Mum Smokes cohort who has also played in Kes Band and Minimum Chips, amongst others), and bassist Georgina Ward (Function Group, Moon Dice, also the painter of the album cover). Matt Nicholson of Function Group also plays banjo on the wistful House Of Cards, while guitarist Hamish O’Neill (Moon Dice, Isle Adore) and keyboardist Sophie Perillo (Hi God People) have recently joined the band, but don’t play on the album.
The band self-released a split single with buddies Twerps in 2010, while previous album The Ancients 2 was released on the Sensory Projects label in 2010, and first album The Ancients was released in 2009 by UK label Moteer.
Night Bus is the Ancients’ grand statement, an embarrassment of aural riches and diffident, endearing lyrical honesty.