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Playing 40 gigs in under 50 days on the back of their fourth album suggests The Datsuns' ethic of playing hard and working hard hasn't waned. Chris Ormond of NZPA reports.
It's been six-years since Cambridge rock quartet The Datsuns relocated to Britain, but they've remained on the radar here with regular summer visits.
They seem to be constantly on the road in the northern hemisphere and will wrap up an exhausting 40-date tour of Britain, Scandinavia and Europe late next month before heading to Australia and New Zealand.
The band this month released their fourth full-length album, Headstunts, on which they have maintained their song-writing principles.
"To me, it's quite a basic record and we've always been exponents of making rock music quite simple," bassist and vocalist Dolf de Borst told NZPA.
The Datsuns' first two albums of simple, high energy rock defined them, but their impressive third album, Smoke and Mirrors, was more toned down and complex, with a range of genres showing through.
De Borst said Headstunts was not quite as broad as Smoke and Mirrors.
"But it's quite high energy, and at the same time it's quite a pop record as well."
Much of the music on the album was created in Germany, where the band lived for a while last year and had the use of a barn and studio.
De Borst said it was an ideal place to write music while playing festivals and gigs in Europe.
"We could spend days or hours there. We were kind of free to come and go and were not 'on the clock' as it were."
He said it enabled The Datsuns to write plenty of material and add it to older material which was reworked with the input of new drummer Ben Cole.
The Datsuns have been a solid unit throughout their career, but Smoke and Mirrors was the last album for original drummer Mat Odment, who departed for family reasons.
The band didn't need to look outside their home town for their replacement.
De Borst said the band members, including guitarist Phil Buscke and guitarist/vocalist Christian Livingstone, had known Cole for a long time, having had a similar outlook as youngsters.
"When you live in Cambridge and you think a certain way about music or the world, those people tend to gravitate towards each other."
He said while Cole had been dropped in the deep end as far as touring and playing the old songs went, he had excelled on that front and also brought a fresh perspective to music making.
"He's got a really good song-writing ear," de Borst said.
"So if I play him a song once, even on acoustic guitar, he kind of knows everything that the song needs and where things need to be dynamically in order to make the song flow and make the performance kind of exciting in the right sort of way."
While de Borst has moved to Sweden to live, the band have to spend a lot of time in close quarters and have managed to maintain a tight relationship.
"I think you have to. It has to be that kind of brotherly or sibling thing where you take each other for granted.
"You spend pretty much every moment in each others' pockets or faces and you sort of have to deal with their eccentricities and idiosyncrasies. If you can't, that's why bands break up.
"But we don't really know how to do anything else," de Borst said.
"I'd like to say we're a democracy, but we're not. It's almost like a four-way dictatorship sometimes, it's really weird.
"It's an interesting dynamic. We like to record very fast because we have a short attention span, but then other members of the band like to take their time on their parts."
He said being in the studio was often an over-analytical and stressful process, but things went reasonably smoothly for the recording of Headstunts.
The Datsuns have always gravitated towards Australia and New Zealand at the height of the festive season and it will be no different this year.
After a few Australian gigs in December the band heads to New Zealand and will play at the Coroglen Tavern near Whitianga and the Rhythm and Vines festival in Gisborne, both between Christmas and New Year. A couple of weeks later they play at the Big Day Out in Auckland.
"It's much nicer to tour New Zealand in the summer, people tend to come out of hibernation," de Borst said.
* Headstunts is out now