Birds Of Tokyo: The Fire Rises

Birds Of Tokyo
Our eclectic team of writers from around Australia – and a couple beyond – with decades of combined experience and interest in all fields.

It’d been over two years since we’d heard any fresh music out of Perth alt-rockers Birds Of Tokyo. But they’ve just released a four song EP, This Fire, which gives fans a taste of what’s to come when they drop their fourth studio album in March 2013.

Guitarist Adam Sparks tells us the band adopted a new mindset during the recording of This Fire. “I guess our philosophical approach to it was quite different in the way that we approached our writing, the way that we let time inform our decision — ideas would gestate for a lot longer — staying away from easy and comfortable devices we knew about writing music… We got pretty philosophical on the record between ourselves so it's kind of the inward approach leaning outwards.”

Birds of Tokyo released their third, self-titled album in 2010, and enjoyed a slew of accolades in return. This Fire is their first release since said prosperity, and Sparks admits that the change in direction (both philosophically and sound-wise) was partly a reaction to sudden success.

“It’s not really part of our master plan to always adhere to success in that sort of format. We want to feel good and comfortable and have a sense of integrity as grown men creating the sort of music that we really like and when things get picked up and it's sort of out of your control, it's sort of forced into a light of that commerciality or whatever... It's not always comfortable.”

In March of 2011, BoT announced the departure of bass player Anthony Jackson. They have since introduced two new members (Glenn Sarangapany on keys and Ian Berney on bass) and Sparks says the new album reflects that experience of coming together.

“This one is less about I and a lot more about the "we". There's a lot of just human-to-human social sort of commentary, observation and discussion about isolation and growth and looking forward.”

Stylised. Linear. Dreamy. Moody, textured, hazy and distorted. These are some of the terms Sparks uses to describe the Birds’ new sound. The question is: how will fans react to it? 

“We're really kind of in love with how it's sounding, you know? So it's not so much nerves... It's a little bit of nerves but it's also a bit of excitement as well, sort of going, well, 'Here it is - hope this makes sense to you'.”

This Fire is available now. Birds Of Tokyo play Homebake on Saturday December 8, and Launceston's Breath Of Life Festival on Sunday March 10.

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