Fiery rebirth for Birds
Birds of Tokyo spent a year off the road. Picture: Supplied.

The good news for fans of Birds of Tokyo is that the Perth rockers have just about finished work on their fourth album. The bad news is that you won't hear the follow-up to their platinum-selling, self-titled ARIA best rock album of 2010 until next March.

However, the recently expanded five-piece outfit will give devotees a preview via the This Fire EP.

Like the rest of the album, the four-track sampler was recorded in Los Angeles earlier this year with producer Dave Cooley (Silversun Pickups, Eulogies, the Polyphonic Spree).

The band rented some fancy digs in Beachwood Canyon, a Hollywood Hills enclave more accustomed to millionaire musicians and movie stars than rockers from the other side of the planet.

"Up the street a little was Moby's house," frontman Ian Kenny says from his adopted home of Melbourne. "I said g'day to Moby as he was coming out of his house one morning when I was trying to jog."

In between frightening Moby, catching visiting Aussie bands and ensuring they were well "fed and watered" in the bars of LA, Birds of Tokyo spent most of the four months Stateside diligently working away in Cooley's Kingsize Soundlabs in East LA and Ocean Way Recording on the Sunset Strip.

"We wanted to invest ourselves as thoroughly as we could in the record," Kenny says of the lengthy recording process. "We left ourselves some breathing room."

While guitarist Adam Spark has co-produced the three previous albums, this time Cooley handled all production duties. "Adam chose to take a bit of a back seat because he ultimately wants to be on this record as a player and a performer," Kenny says.

"Having Dave there taking the reins for the band allowed him to free up and basically focus on and enjoy his role in the band."

This Fire refers to the feelings of "rebirth and change" among the band, which parted company with bassist Anthony Jackson last year and added bass player Ian Berney (ex-Sugar Army) and touring member Glenn Sarangapany to the line-up.

While Kenny has moved to Melbourne, drummer Adam Weston is based in Brisbane and Spark, Berney and Sarangapany live in Sydney, where Birds of Tokyo have a studio.

The band started work on the new record about 18 months ago in Sydney, before spending some time writing in a farmhouse in Nice, France.

The change of scenery, personnel and approach has led to the polished, layered sound of This Fire.

"It doesn't feel like the band is starting over, but from a creative standpoint we are definitely on some new ground," Kenny says.

"We really have some atmosphere happening on this record. There are some very big moments, the actual sonics and the depth we've gone into on this record, I think people are going to pick that up when they start listening to it."

The singer reckons This Fire and Boy, another track on the EP, will make it on to the album. The latter song delves into the simple pleasures of childhood, a time free from the responsibilities of adulthood.

"Sometimes you miss that little kid," says Kenny, who adds that the closest he can get to that feeling is stepping on stage with his fellow Birds or "other" band, Karnivool.

The dynamic singer is looking forward to re-energising Perth fans at Rock-It this Sunday. Birds of Tokyo spent almost a year off the road, breaking the drought with a gig at the recent Kalgoorlie Cup.

"It was the first time we played together on stage in 12 months," Kenny says, "and it was just like 'We're back in the jungle and it feels good'."

This Fire EP is out now. Birds of Tokyo play Rock-It at Arena Joondalup on Sunday. Tickets from Heatseeker and the usual outlets.

The West Australian

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