If you’re only looking for dreamy psych-pop, then Night Bus is all you need. But if you want something more, this just won’t deliver.

When listening to The Ancients’ third album Night Bus, one is immediately taken aback by its grandeur. There are sweeping landscapes of guitar with dreamy vocals floating gently around like leaves caught in a breeze. ‘Elegance’ is the word that springs to mind.

Elegance, however, comes at a cost; and in this case, it results in lacklustre energy and presence, leading to an underwhelming album from the Melbourne psych-pop band.

Opener ‘Chaos And Futility’ sets the tone with gentle vocals contrasted against the coarse guitar reply. ‘She Lives In A Tent’, ‘Hey Now’ and ‘Night Bus’ all prolong this musical daydream. The only songs that shake things up a little are ‘Hamster’, which uses faster drum beats and guitars contorted to the point they take on the manner of aeroplanes flying overhead or waves breaking upon a shore, and ‘House Of Cards’, which centres around a banjo and a more rambling feel than a dreamy one.

These songs come too late in the album to make much of a difference, missing their chance to make the album more than what it is, and leaving almost every other song sounding like it consists of the same dreamy vocals over the same wonderfully played guitar.

It’s not that the album is bad; there is just nothing special or memorable about it. It’s background music at your local cafe. Albeit very elegant background music.

3/5 stars


Night Bus is out now through Chapter Music

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