Premiere: Indie supergroup The Aerial Maps make a triumphant return as they blissfully take us on the ‘Eucalyptus Road’, with a new album on the way.

Feature Photograph: Safari Lee

It’s been nearly three years since we reviewed the album ‘Intimate Hinterland’ from the venerable Sydney indie supergroup The Aerial Maps, and we are catatonic with excitement at being able to premiere their new single ‘Eucalyptus Road’.

Singer Adam Gibson is the uncrowned poet laureate of Australia with his poignant reflections of the minutiae of everyday life, and when his archetypal Australian-inflected drawl is contrasted with the dulcet tones of Alannah Russack in the soaring chorus, it is like a swagman version of John Cooper Clarke engaged in a delicate waltz with Kirsty MacColl by the Billabong.

Gibson says of the song:

This is a song where the idea of environmental factors impacting our lives is writ large. A couple seek shelter from the madness of the world and work hard to find safe haven from fire and flood, doing so by crafting a home from a little shack up on mythical “Eucalyptus Road”. During the process of finding this they suddenly realise that they also need to have fun, to live a little, with the question asked: “When was the last time we went out dancing?” The song is a call to arms to remember what makes us human and that the connections to those we love are the most important things.

Indeed, the sense of yearning and desire seem to permeate every note, Gibson’s vocals rough and raw as the lyrics paint a intimate and detailed world that is lifted like a hang glider in an updraft into the stratosphere by the chorus. There is always some intimate connection this band seems to have with the Australian terrain like a sonic version of an Arthur Streeton landscape: an outback wilderness captured in Gibson’s words and the band’s sweeping orchestral delivery.

The accompanying video, shot and edited by Nick Castellaro, is a beautifully shot mix of rural and urban landscapes, with the band performing the track – creating a bucolic, ambulant and blissful tone:

‘Eucalyptus Road’ is out tomorrow (1 May 2024) and will be available to download and stream through all the usual places, and through the link below.

Every Aerial Maps album has a theme or concept underpinning it. Their first album In The Blinding Sunlight (2008) was all about memory and a sense of nostalgia, the second The Sunset Park (2011) was a “novel in song” about crossing Australia, the third, Intimate Hinterland (2021), was about the intimate connection of people within the Australian landscape, the place where we live our lives.

‘Our Sunburnt Dream’, produced by Jim Moginie (Midnight Oil) and Ted Howard and out on 21 June 2024, is a combination of all these ideas brought together, a dreamlike vision in which personal experiences and more fictional stories are presented as a widescreen collection, all infused with the bright sunlight of Australia. Gibson says of the new album:

Things are changing in this landscape. We felt it was important to try to document how we cope with such change but also at same time celebrate our resilience and power to push onwards in the face of such changes. So this album seeks to present songs that are deeply personal but also contains stories that have a more fictional aspect, peopled by widely varying characters, with the end result being a cornucopia of ideas and situations.

The Aerial Maps are a true indie supergroup consisting of writer and vocalist Adam Gibson, the rhythm section of Mark ‘Na Na’ Hyland (bass) and Jasper Fenton (drums), and the songwriting, singing and playing of Alannah Russack (the Hummingbirds) and Peter Fenton (a key member of legendary dark rock exponents Crow and The Gin Palace). They perfectly encompass the Marrickville Sound: veteran musicians reforming and creating wonderful music again.

The Aerial Maps are:

Adam Gibson –vocals, saxophone
Alannah Russack – guitar, vocals, piano, synth
Jasper Fenton – drums, guitar
Mark “Na Na” Hyland – bass, vocals, Fender Rhodes electric piano
Peter Fenton – guitar, vocals, piano

With special guest Jim Moginie – guitar, piano, Fender Rhodes electric piano

Feature Photograph: Safari Lee

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