Rain on the Humming Wire is the latest, most resplendent album from Western Australian band THE PANICS. Their fourth album, which came out Friday July 29, is a soulful composition of the band’s time away from home and how their lonely hunter hearts dealt with oceans of separation. “Underneath the elegant pop-rock tracks are modern hymns for a generation, anthems of rash joy and quiet heartbreak.”
The title of the album comes from the track Creatures which was written one of those times when frontman and songwriter Jae Laffer found himself thinking of his childhood, of love stories and of his hometown. Ultimately all tracks link up with a retrospective angle that harp back to their youth, says Laffer. “The title was always with us from the beginning.” And certainly there is no more a poetic title that resonates all too poignantly throughout the entirety of an album.
Each song depicts a new chapter in the story of their lives creating a recurring nostalgic theme in their work. Written in Salford, England and recorded in Woodstock, New York, all five members of the band – Jae (vocals, piano, guitar), Drew Wootton (guitar), Myles Wootton (drums), Paul Otway (bass, vocals) and Jules Douglas (keyboards, guitar, vocals) tell heart-warming stories of their travels, particularly of when they spent a month isolated in the woods in upstate New York. “You take this simple life you have, then you uproot and go overseas, and you go through all these amazing experiences. You have your relationships tested, people fall in and out of love… It’s a mad kind of ride, but the fun bit is trying to put it into words and make something beautiful out of wherever you are at the time.”
Since their last album Cruel Guards Laffer indulges in the idiosyncrasies of minor experiences in his songwriting. For him, sometimes the best lyricism is merely odes to “a feeling, an overheard conversation or whatever is tugging at the heartstrings.” Laffer started playing piano at the age of five, a talent and passion of his that has transcended time. The band tells of a fond memory in New York when everyone was gathered around Jae as he played a vintage piano in a handsome, sun-drenched timber room. Such memories are the life force of The Panics’ sweeping lyrical anthems. The first track Majesty “with its rolling thunder timpani and jangling, jingoistic guitars” is a testament to that which Jae decrees.
The band is journeying to Splendour in the Grass to awe their fans once more following with some later year tour dates around the country. If there were a line to describe the sweetness, the fortitude for dedication to poetic composure and musical harmonising of The Panics it would surely be Rain on the Humming Wire. Laffer says “it’s not hard in this band to learn” and in the same vein it is not hard in this album to love.
Rain on the Humming Wire was released on Friday July 29. It’s available now through all good record stores.