Panchaeans is a Californian indie psych-pop band driven by songwriter Patrick Abernethy (formerly of Beulah and Rogue Wave); propelled by drummer Pat Spurgeon (Rogue Wave), along with a rotating cast of band members when playing live. In a previous incarnation the band was known as Pancho-san (a nod to their former home city of San Francisco). Beginning in 2010, there were a couple of self-released LPs and shows around the U.S. with: The Fresh and Onlys, the Papercuts, Exray's, Tim Cohen's Magic Trick, Little Wings, The Blank Tapes, Rogue Wave, Admiral Radley (Jason Lytle), and Miles Kurosky (Beulah). Pancho-san took a long hiatus starting in 2014, and five eventful years later have regrouped - in Oakland, CA - now resurfacing from their recording studio with a new name, and a fresh four-song EP, Telecommuting, released on July 26th, 2019. The newly evolved monicker - Panchaeans - was inspired by the storied inhabitants of an Ancient Greek historical-fictional island called Panchaea. The name change felt like a better reflection of where the band currently finds themselves - geographically, sonically, and existentially speaking.
On Telecommuting, the band returns with their eclectic and multi-layered sound; this time with a more focused direction, sounding bigger and more polished than the home cassette recordings of the previous releases. It's really as though this is a new band - maybe emerging from a sort of historical-fictional island.
"Stylistically, they evoke the enchantingly melancholy and shambling pop-rock of The Softies, Heavenly, and Beat Happening; the brittle, lo-fi synth-pop of Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark; and the dense studio emotionalism of John Lennon's early solo work. The vocals are gauzy and heart-on-the-sleeve, and the songs sound as if they're emanating from a cave (where the "old man of the mountain" is Phil Spector)...[Panchaeans] excels at what too few bands attempt to attain — drawing from time-honored influences, but blessing them with a very personal spin." - Mark Keresman, East Bay Express