Premiere: Johnny Cyrus and His Band of Ghosts – Longevity I (EP)

We are delighted to premiere the debut EP ‘Longevity I’ from Ipswich’s Johnny Cyrus and His Band of Ghosts. Ipswich is a town west of Brisbane, Queensland and you can feel deep in the roots of the music a certain Australian outback theme – dusty desert roads filled with roadkill and killer semi-trailers with hot blasting sunlight and a never ending horizon.

‘Longevity I’ is five tracks of attitude-infused instrumentals that are less Mogwai and more Dirty Three – grungy, fuzzy, reverb-soaked atmospheric cool like a soundtrack to a bleak John Hillcoat movie (another Queenslander).

The EP, indeed, opens with that most Australian sounds of birds squawking in the distance and the ominous sound of footsteps, setting the scene for the EP – an aural Wolf Creek so to speak – a soundtrack to a wild foreboding landscape. ‘Introduction’ compellingly does just that: it’s the gateway to the dusty, haunting world of ‘Longevity I’.

Second track, ‘Two Kings’ introduces more of an upbeat jangle – a slightly anarchic discordant jangle but nonetheless shedding some light in the dark. What is highlighted on this and on other tracks is the crucial role played by the drums and bass – replacing the need for vocals with expressive rhythms that are like a relentless roller coaster.

“Every Man Grieves Alone’ has the sharp visceral edge that for me recalls the great instrumental soundtrack released by The Cure – ‘Carnage Visors’. It’s dark, it’s hypnotic and a cinematic epic: a soundtrack for driving though an empty desolate landscape.

‘All Girls Fall’ is that pitstop on the highway: a return to the upbeat jangling guitars, a sense of optimism and redemption.

The EP ends with ‘Come Dance Early’: a fitting end to an extremely satisfying EP. It is another contemplative piece yet has an undercurrent of foreboding. Above all, like its predecessors, it is melodic and atmospheric, evoking a sense of crackling lightning and storm clouds on the horizon: a fitting conclusion for an excellent EP.

It is a difficult task for instrumental bands to replace the imagery of words and vocals to maintain interest – to provide the pictures to a story – and Johnny Cyrus and His Band of Ghosts to their credit have done just that. Self-described as ‘Cowboy Drone’, this is Australiana shoegaze: a mesmerising evocative soundtrack to a beautiful paradise with a dark heart. It’s gorgeous:

The EP is out through Valley Heat Records – an outfit that is producing some of the most interesting music from the north of Australia. Given their propensity for innovation, the EP will be released across all digital platforms on 13 March 2018 along with a limited edition releases of 20 hand-numbered cassettes.

The band is launching the EP in Brisbane on 15 March at Black Bear Lodge.

Johnny Cyrus and His Band of Ghosts are guitarists Zac Mitchell and Tonestar Le Ru, Josh Dawson on drums and Nathan Goodger, who recorded the Longevity release, on bass.

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