Nightbus, a trio from Manchester, is gaining popularity for their unique music that captures the eerie late-night space between leaving the dancefloor and returning home as the glamour of a night out clashes with the grittiness of inner-city streets. The band consists of Olive Rees, Zac Melrose, and Jake Cottier, and the band’s name originated from Melrose’s nightly journey home after working at a busy nightclub. Their music has been described as “electronic post-punk goth chic” by Melrose and influenced by Joy Division, New Order, The xx, Massive Attack, The Murder Capital, and Fontaines D.C. Nightbus’s sound has a distinct touch of melancholic darkness, capturing the atmosphere of the late-night dance floor.
Rees and Melrose, who studied together in Manchester, began working on songs last summer and later invited Cottier, a multi-instrumentalist, to join them. The group quickly amassed dozens of tracks and was signed within a few weeks after they sent out demos to labels. Nightbus plans to release a group of four songs, which are like “chapters of a short story”. The narrative is not a positive one that is usually associated with the theme of late-night dance floors, but rather, they document the harsh realities of nights out. Their songs are a reality check to the fun parties that many associate with late-night activities.
Nightbus’s music is a reflection of the existential crisis that many young people are facing, which is fuelled by “the political state” of the UK, as described by Rees. Their songs revolve around the things young people think about, such as having kids and the cost of living crisis. The band’s music is not about politics, but the state of the world contributes to the bleak mood of some of their songs. Melrose added that a lot of their songs will relate to young people enduring similar feelings right now, and there is a lot of beauty in that.
Nightbus’s debut single, “Way Past Three,” has a Joy Division and The xx feel to it and is followed by “Mirrors,” which is about a character’s existential crisis during a night out. The single has a New Order-like bassline and pulpy lead guitars, reflecting on their behaviour against the backdrop of moonlight hitting cheap neon signs. According to Melrose, the last single is the conclusion of the short story, and it’s quite bleak. It’s about the worrying reality of someone trying to get home from a night out, the worrying aspect of trying to stay safe, and the grim reality of not being able to do so, building on what happens in earlier songs. Nightbus is planning to release more songs, and fans are eager to hear what’s next from this rising band.