It has been four long years since Perth contemporary rockers The Panics released their last album, 2007's Cruel Guards.

That year saw the band collect four ARIA award nominations, the coveted Triple J award for best album, and boatloads of critical praise that would send our immigration minister into overdrive.

Since then, it's fair to say the five-piece, noted for the rich, tapestried arrangements of singer/songwriter Jae Laffer's methodical pop numbers, has taken it pretty easy.

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They've only moved across the pond to Manchester, launched their record into the foggy British stratosphere, followed the songwriter from some band called Oasis around the country, and headlined a series of festivals.

With the release of their new album, Rain On The Humming Wire, the band is in the midddle of its first national tour since 2009, a 17-date voyage that includes a show at Byron Bay's The Northern tonight.

Laffer says the regional tour will be a welcome break from the packed theatres he followed Oasis front man Noel Gallagher through recently.

"(Gallagher) was somebody who excited me so much when I was in high school. (Touring with him) was like the TV weatherman turning to you on the couch at home and saying hello.

"I always seem to have these moments where I meet these people and I clam up," the bashful singer says.

"Nine times out of 10 I come away thinking about how I could have done it better."

What the unassuming Laffer perhaps doesn't realise is when it comes to writing songs, it's becoming difficult for anybody in Australia to do it better.

The Panics new album is sublime, low-GI pop that showcases Laffer's concise, poignant songwriting and his band's gift for turning two guitars, a keyboard, bass and drums into weapons of mass orchestration.

The album placed #7 on the ARIA albums chart in its first week (a new record for the band), and lead single Majesty has received heavy airplay on commercial and independent radio.

"I wanted to write a more upbeat record this time around," Laffer concedes.

"But then I just kept having these intense feelings: I struggled with it for a while, but I eventually realised I just had to stop fighting it."

While almost certainly a Freudian slip, the sentiment is one which perhaps best defines Laffer's early career: The Panics' breakthrough single, 2007's Don't Fight It, deals explicitly with that very notion.

"When I realised that I just needed to roll with it, I came out with this very moody, claustrophobic record," he says.

He's very correct. The album is a cavernous exercise in introspection, tied thematically to a sense of place or more correctly, to Laffer's inability to find his.

Rest assured readers: he's found it.

"We've always prided ourselves on being a live band," Laffer says.

The Panics play The Northern, Byron Bay tonight at 9pm. Tickets $28.60.

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