Seven years on from being dubbed flavour of the month by London’s music press, riff-heavy rockers The Datsuns were close to running on empty.
But time apart has topped up their tank, says guitarist Phil Buscke.
The Kiwi band play Revolver on Sunday night on their first full New Zealand tour since the release of fourth album Head Stunts last October.
The album is the first to feature old school friend Ben Cole, who took the drummer’s throne on the departure of founding member Matt Osment.
“We were all really sad when Matt left the band,” Buscke says. “Those were pretty dark times and I was wondering how we were going to get through all of that.
“But through all the dire times we’ve been through, situations that have come up the next day have always been a sign to carry on.”
Buscke says living apart has given the four-piece some respite from the pressures of touring Europe year in, year out.
With singer/bassist Dolf de Borst based in Stockholm, guitarist Christian Livingstone in London and Cole and Buscke in NZ, The Datsuns have “found a balance – because we were seeing a bit too much of each other”.
“Having a bit more space helps me see it from a different perspective and helps me appreciate it again, the way I used to.
“To be honest, I’m pretty surprised we’re still together.”
The media circus that surrounded The Datsuns’ first UK excursion in 2002 was “unstoppable, like a beast”, Buscke says. But the band always knew the heat would die down.
“During that time we were very aware that it would flip. We were constantly trying to shun the hype.”
The addition of Cole to the lineup “opened us up to trying different things, reworking the band to whatever we wanted it to be”, Buscke says.
As a result, Head Stunts is a power pop album with more than a hint of 1960s psychedelia.
“We turned pop songs into jams, and the other way around. We’ve always just done what’s best for the song.”
Catch The Datsuns at Revolver on Sunday from 9pm